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In the 1700’s, it was called “Root Tea.” An herbal remedy made with sassafras, sarsaparilla, birch bark and other wild roots and herbs. Native Americans taught the recipe to colonial settlers. As it was passed it down from generation to generation, it grew in potency and complexity. Particularly in the Pennsylvania hinterlands, where the ingredients naturally grow in abundance.
At the close of the 19th century, as the Temperance movement conspired to take the fun out of everything, a Philadelphia pharmacist removed the alcohol from Root Tea and rechristened it (ironically) “Root Beer”. He did this so that hard drinking Pennsylvania coal miners and steelworkers could enjoy it in place of true alcoholic refreshment. He introduced his “Root Beer” in a big way at the still legendary 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. The rest, as you know, is flaccid history.
At Art in the Age, they thought it would be interesting and fun to turn back the clock and recreate a true pre-temperance alcoholic Root Tea. They’ve even made it certified organic, since back then, everything was organic. This is the opposite of corporate culture. It’s a genuine experience rooted in history and their own landscape. It is a truly interesting and contemplative quaff. Certainly like nothing else you have ever tasted before. It is NOT Root Beer flavored vodka or a sickly sweet liqueur.
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