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Barq's ( "Barks") is an American soft drink. "Barq's" was long the name of the company's signature product, now known as Barq's Famous Olde Tyme Root Beer, a brand of root beer notable for being the first major North American root beer to contain caffeine. It has been bottled since the start of the 20th century and is currently sold by The Coca-Cola Company.

Barq's products

  • Barq's Famous Olde Tyme Root Beer. Available caffeine-free in areas distributed by Swire Coca-Cola, such as Utah.
  • Diet Barq's, which contains no caffeine. Available in Root Beer and Vanilla Cream.
  • Barq's Red Crème Soda. Long known in New Orleans as "Barq's Red Drink."
  • Barq's French Vanilla Crème Soda
  • Barq's Floatz, which is designed to taste like a root beer float
  • J & J Snack Foods Corporation licenses the brand name for Barq's Floatz ice cream squeeze tubes.


The Barq's Brothers Bottling Company was founded in 1890 in the French Quartermarker of New Orleans, Louisianamarker, by Edward Charles Edmond Barq and his younger brother, Gaston. The Barq Brothers bottled carbonated water and various soft drinks of their own creation. Early on their most popular creation was an orange-flavored soda called Orangine, which won a gold medal at the 1893 World's Columbian Expositionmarker World's Fair in Chicago, Illinoismarker.

A can of Barq's root beer.
Edward Barq moved to Biloxi, Mississippimarker, in 1897 with his new wife. The following year he opened the Biloxi Artesian Bottling Works. 1898 is often given as the debut year for what was later to be known as "Barq's root beer," but some sources say this particular product was not produced until some two years later.

For many decades Barq's was not marketed as a "root beer." This was in part a desire to avoid legal conflict with the Hires Root Beer company, which was attempting to claim a trademark on the term "root beer." It was also due to differences from other root beers at the time. The base was a sarsaparilla drink of the style of the late 19th century, in a formulation with caffeine, less sugar, and higher carbonation than other brands, though with less of a foamy "head." It was decided to market the soft drink simply as Barq's.

The traditional slogan was the simple affirmation "Drink Barq's. It's good."

For a time it was marketed with the slogan "Is it root beer?" before the company decided to market the product as such.

In 1976, the Biloxi Barq's Company was purchased by two entrepreneurs, John Oudt and John Koerner. An aggressive television campaign was developed based on the "Barq's Got Sparks" theme. Their plans to market the brand nationally were partially complicated by the existence of the New Orleans based Barq's Beverages, Inc., and Barq's Beverages of Baton Rouge, Inc., which had long been marketing Barq's and Barq's Creme' Soda in Southern Louisiana. The New Orleans firm was largely independently of the Biloxi firm dating back to early 20th century oral agreements between Barq family members and friends. (Those who traveled back and forth between Mississippi and Louisiana noted subtle but distinct differences between the Barq's sold in the two places, as the Biloxi and New Orleans plants each made their own syrups, and some partisans considered one or the other "better.") There were extended legal conflicts over who exactly had the rights to the Barq's name and formula and in which markets. These differences were not fully resolved until The Coca-Cola Company acquired both branches in 1995.

Before the purchase, Barq's produced other sodas, such as lime green and grape, in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Barq's had never commercially advertised its root beer, until a young boy wrote a persuasive letter to the company suggesting an aggressive ad campaign. The identity of the boy is still unknown to this day.

In the 1990s, Barq's ran a series of commercials with the following jingle: "This is the Barq's Root Beer Jingle, singing about Barq's Root Beer! Barq's spent all their money on the music so they couldn't afford to buy lyrics."

In recent years Barq's has been marketed with the slogan "Barq's has bite!", a reference to both its caffeine content and its crisper taste as compared to most commercial root beers.

Regular Barq's has 22.5 mg of caffeine per 12 ounce serving (similar to green tea), while Diet Barq's has no caffeine.


  1. Barbara Powell, Coca-Cola launches drink that mimics a root-beer float, The Augusta Chronicle, June 13, 2003. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
  2. Digging for facts,
  3. Coca-Cola Brand Fact Sheets - Barq's. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
  4. Retrieved 2009-01-19

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