I’ve been learning a lot about root beer recently, it’s a very common soft drink in the USA, but what about the rest of the world and in particular England.
Can you buy root beer in England?
Also, root beer and sarsaparilla taste very similar and have subtle differences.
Below, I’ll explain where root beer originated, the differences between it and other similar sodas, as well as, other interesting info about root beer in the UK.
Table of Contents
Is root beer banned in the UK?
Tesco, a large supermarket chain in the UK, lists Bundaberg, Virigils, and Tropical Sun root beer on their website.
But, you’ll want to call ahead to the individual store to see if they stock it.
Also, Asda, another large supermarket chain that has stores throughout the UK, lists 3 brands of root beer on their website – Bundaberg, Ben Shaws, and Tropical Sun.
Sarsaparilla more popular than root beer in the UK
Root beer isn’t as popular in the UK, and it is in the US. But, sarsaparilla is widely available in the East end of London, and in the North of England according to Wikipedia.
Anecdotal evidence from forums online has comments from people in the UK who say that sarsaparilla is popular in the North of England as well.
Sarsaparilla is made from sarsaparilla root, and was the inspiration behind the creation of root beer, according to Bundaberg.
But, it also included other spicy and aromatic herbs such as cinnamon, star anise, and licorice root.
Technically sarsaparilla is a root beer, because it’s made mostly from dried and ground roots of various plants.
But, sarsaparilla is still called sarsaparilla and not root beer.
I wrote about the differences between root beer and sarsaparilla in this article What Is Sarsaparilla Soda?
It also explains the differences between sarsaparilla and Dandelion and Burdock – a well known ‘root beer’ in the UK.
Is Root Beer American?
Root beer is technically a herbal tea, with added sugar, and fizz. Herbal tea has been drunk for many thousands of years.
So, what was invented was adding carbonation to it.
According to Sodastream, carbonated drinks were invented by Joseph Preistley in England in 1767.
And 20 years later it was first commercially produced by Jacob Schweppes.
No doubt during this time various concoctions were made that included ingredients similar to what are used in root beer.
And it’s likely that a version of root beer was made in England.
But, the commercial production and extensive marketing of the Hires brand made it widespread throughout the USA, where today it’s more popular than in England.
Interestingly, nowadays, root beer is made with different ingredients because sassafras root was shown to cause health issues, and was subsequently banned by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to Wikipedia.
What are the most popular sodas in the UK?
Root beer is in the other category, and is less than 5% of the total amount of sodas sold in the UK.
Which means that a maximum of 1 in 20 people drink root beer over other sodas in the UK.
In a study published in BMC Medicine, UK consumption of sodas containing sugar dropped by 50%, and was replaced by diet and zero sodas from 2015 to 2018.
However, the increase in diet and zero soda consumption increased by only 40%.
Which means that 10% of people quit drinking sodas from 2015 and 2018.
As I wrote about recently in an article: Is drinking 1 soda a day bad for you? I explained studies that showed that naturally sweetened sodas are correlated with getting Type 2 diabetes.
It was also shown that drinking sodas that are artificially sweetened – such as diet and zero sodas – and those sweetened with fruit juice also have a correlation with developing Type 2 diabetes.
But, the results weren’t conclusive.
Why do foreigners hate root beer?
Therefore, it’s understandably not what people have in mind when they want to drink a soda.
Does Tesco sell root beer?
Tesco is one of the largest supermarket chains in the UK and has around 7000 stores, according to Statista.com.
When did Mcdonald’s stop serving root beer in the UK?
In my opinion, most people are used to the taste of traditional sodas like Coke, Sprite, and Fanta, and root beer has a distinct taste, very different from regular sodas.
It’s also an acquired taste, and unless a person grew up drinking it, they wouldn’t think it tastes very good.
As a result, most customers probably tried it once, or are aware of how it tastes and ordered something else instead.
They sell root beer in England at big Tesco and Asda stores, as well as, online on Ebay.co.uk, and Americanfizz.co.uk.
Root beer was banned in the UK for a time, but it’s now sold regularly throughout England and the UK. There is a traditional UK equivalent called Dandelion and Burdock, which is a sarsaparilla.
The first commercial root beer was sold in the US.
However, based on the fact that root beer is a carbonated and sugary herbal tea.
Root beer likely existed before it was first commercially produced.