The year is 1919. Deep in the heart of California, a parade is taking off for a group of celebrated World War I veterans located in the state. Set up along the parade route is a modest little stand run by a man named Roy Allen. Many people stopped by this stand, and these people were the first to taste what later became A&W Root Beer.
The drink was a smashing success, so much so that Allen was able to open up a few more stands. Among these stands was what was thought to be the first drive-in diner. Allen took on a partner named Frank Wright, and the combination of their initials formed the name: A&W Root Beer.
A franchise program soon developed and soon, A&W restaurants were peppered all over the landscape of the country. Over time, the soda took off more than the restaurants did, and A&W became available in grocery stores as well.
In the mid-nineties, following a consolidation pattern seen in the industry, A&W was acquired by the Dr Pepper/7up family. A&W is also associated with Yum! Brands, which is deeply rooted with PepsiCo.
Even today, many A&W restaurant locations still operate, and A&W has secured itself as a market leader in root beer.