A&W's North American stores 'afloat' in root beer giveaways

The ship has come in for root beer fans from the tip of Florida to the top of Canada, not to mention the root beer-centric brand, A&W, itself, which has been blessed over a period of less than a month with not one, but two root beer-focused holidays across the U.S. and Canada. 

It all begins Saturday in Canada when locations celebrate Free Root Beer Day with free mugs of the frothy beverages from open to close. 

"Last year's response to Free Root Beer Day was so great we had to bring it back," A&W Canada's President and CEO Susan Senecal said in the release. "Again and again our guests tell us that they're amazed that something so good can come from such simple ingredients."

Last year, A&W Canada unveiled its root beer brewed with natural cane sugar and all-natural flavors, which was not only a first for similarly sized Canadian restaurants but served as a milestone in the company's journey to source natural ingredients. 

Aside from the cane sugar-sweetened version of the beverage also brought back in the states to be made fresh in restaurants last year, the brand's trademark version of root beer contains sarsaparilla root for distinct notes of vanilla, caramel and wintergreen, along with birch bark to bring in subtle mint flavors, licorice for some sweet spiciness and anise to introduce aromatic notes of fennel and tarragon.

U.S. locations will host a similar celebration on Aug. 6, America's National Root Beer Float Day, with the sarsaparilla drink afloat with ice cream.

This event is both a thank you to customers and a means of raising money for the Disabled American Veterans, which the brand hopes float-blessed customers will make a donation to that day. Fundraising for the campaign has already begun, and those using the #RootBeerFloatDay hashtag or going online to www.rootbeerfloatday.com can get more info.

"A&W has a longstanding relationship with America's Armed Services," A&W CEO Kevin Bazner said in the release. "The needs of our veterans continue to grow, which is why it is so important that we use a fun event like National Root Beer Float Day to also raise funds for DAV and to call attention to veterans' issues." 

The brand hopes to raise at least $150,000 for the organization that serves more than 1 million U.S. disabled veterans annually. The sum would outpace last year's donations of $100,000. DAV, last year, provided an estimated $4 million in direct veterans benefits. Since it started to celebrate National Root Beer Float Day six years ago, A&W has raised more than $650,000 for veterans groups.

Topics: Burger/Steak/BBQ, Business Strategy and Profitability, Chicken, Food & Beverage, Marketing / Branding / Promotion, Social Responsibility

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