Dad’s Root Beer
Dad’s Root Beer, one of America’s most popular soft drinks, was developed in the 1930s by partners Barney Berns and Ely Klapman in the basement of Klapman’s Chicago-area home. The first trademark registration was filed on September 24, 1938, granted on February 14, 1939 to The Dad’s Root Beer Company of Chicago, and alleged use since February, 1937. Dad’s unique and delicious flavor earned a loyal following. The Dad’s Root Beer brand was famous throughout the Midwest 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, successfully took the Dad’s brand international. The name Dad’s Old Fashioned Root Beer was selected in honor of Ely Klapman’s father, and other fathers, who used to make root beer at home for their families (popular in the early 20th Century).
Dad’s Root Beer distinguished itself as a brand and industry innovator when it 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 was marketed as a family. “Junior” bottle size was the smallest, 7, 10 or 12 ounces. “Mama” was a quart bottle, and “Papa” was a half gallon bottle. (The image of the young boy featured on the “Junior” size bottle is Barney Berns’ son, Gene Berns.) A common promotion in the 1940s was the 1 cent sale – purchase the Papa half gallon at regular price and get the Mama quart for 1 cent.
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 of Atlanta acquired Dad’s from IC Industries of Chicago in 1986. At that time Dad’s was distributed by the Coca-Cola bottler network, sold 12 million cases annually, and held the second largest share of the root beer category behind A & W.
In 2007 Dad’s Root Beer was purchased from Monarch, along with the Bubble Up, Dr. Wells, and Sun Crest brands, by Hedinger Brands, LLC and licensed to The Dad’s Root Beer Company, LLC. The company headquarters is now located in Jasper, Indiana.
Dad’s Root Beer celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2012.