Dad’s Root Beer is an American root beer created in Chicago in 1937 by Ely Klapman and Barney Berns. It is currently sold and marketed by The Dad’s Root Beer Company LLC, and owned by Hedinger Brands, LLC.
Dad’s Root Beer was developed in the 1930s by partners Barney Berns and Ely Klapman, in the basement of Mr. Klapman’s Chicago-area home. The Dad’s brand was immediately famous throughout the midwest area and by the late 1940s, was one of the most-consumed brands of Root Beer throughout the United States. Jules Klapman, son of co-founder Ely, was successful in bringing the Dad’s brand to the international stage. The name Dad’s Old Fashioned Root Beer was coined in honor of Eli Klapman’s father, and any other fathers across the country, who used to make root beer at home for their families (a popular thing to do in the early 20th Century).
Dad’s became the first product to use the six pack format invented by the Atlanta Paper Company in the 1940s. Dad’s also introduced the half-gallon bottle, becoming the first brand to market this size. Dad’s also marketed sizes based on each member of the family. “Junior size,” for example, was the smallest size, with “Mama” and “Papa” sizes representing the medium and largest sizes, respectively. (The image of the young boy featured on the “junior sized” bottle is Barney Berns’ son, Gene Berns)
The Klapman and Berns families sold all rights to the Dad’s name and logo to IC Industries in the 1970s.
The Monarch Beverage Company purchased Dad’s from IC Industries of Chicago in 1986. Around that time, it was the second largest volume (12 million cases) root beer brand and was distributed by the Coca-Cola bottler network.
The Dad’s Root Beer Company
In 2007, The Dad’s Root Beer Company, LLC of Jasper, Indiana, was formed by Keith Hedinger when Hedinger Brands, LLC acquired the Dad’s Root Beer brand and other soda brands from The Monarch Beverage Co. of Atlanta. Hedinger was approached as owner of Hedinger Beverage Distributing Co., Inc., the largest nonbottler distributor of Dad’s. Other soda brands purchased by Hedinger Brands, LLC are Bubble Up, Dr. Wells and Sun Crest. Dad’s has added 48 additional distributors including a bottler, Tri-State Bottling since acquisition by Hedinger Brands. Jewel-Osco in Chicago, Albertson’s in Florida, Kmart stores, Pamida Hometown Values, Big Lots, Food City, and Snyders Drug Stores are new retailers of Dad’s brand.
Dad’s makes the following brands/flavors:
Dad’s Old Fashioned Root Beer
Dad’s Diet Old Fashioned Root Beer
Dad’s Orange Cream Soda
Dad’s Old Fashioned White Cream Soda
Dad’s Blue Cream
Dad’s Cream Soda
Sun Crest Orange
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