For sale is a vintage 1930s era HIRES ROOT BEER Extract Syrup BOTTLE. This 3 oz bottle of syrup is used to make 5 gallons of Hires Root Beer. The still sealed bottle of Hires Root Beer concentrate is embossed with the company name “HIRES”. The original box has a 1929 copyright date. The bottle stands about 4 3/4 inches tall. The box is missing the top tab. This is your chance to reverse engineer the secret HIRES Root Beer formula.
Hires Root Beer was created by Philadelphia pharmacist Charles Elmer Hires. By 1876, Hires was marketing 25-cent packets of powder which each yielded five gallons of root beer. At Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition in 1876, he cultivated new customers by giving away free glasses of root beer. Hires claimed his root beer would purify the blood and make rosy cheeks. In 1884, he began producing a liquid extract and a syrup for use in soda fountains, and was soon shipping root beer in kegs and producing a special fountain dispenser called the “Hires Automatic Munimaker.” In 1890, the Charles E. Hires Company incorporated and began supplying Hires root beer in small bottles claiming over a million bottles sold by 1891.
Hires’s use of the word “beer” drew the wrath of the temperance movement. He had his root beer tested by a laboratory, and trumpeted their conclusion that a glass of his root beer contained less alcohol than a loaf of bread. Hires Root Beer was promoted as “The Temperance Drink” and “the Greatest Health-Giving Beverage in the World.” Hires advertised aggressively because he believed “doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody ELSE does.”