Junior Johnson’s Original Rootbeer

December 5, 2016
Filed under: root beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Root Beer Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: NC

Obtained in: trade with Tony
Head: Large Sweetener: cane sugar
Calories: 170 Sodium: 0mg
Carbs: 45g Sugar: 44g
Caffeine: No

And here we have another soda obtained from the wonderful Tony! this was a pretty sneaky one, it was out there but had so little info about it. other reviewers seemed to get some, but just one or two bottles so never enough to trade with. the only places I could find that had it were 12 hours or more away.
to be honest I did not know who Junior Johnson was until thirty seconds ago. do most people? I mean, is it like if i knew even anything about Nascar I would have heard of him, like Harmon Killebrew and baseball? I don’t know. I also do not know how valid the “Junior’s Original Recipe” tagline is. I mean, did the guy really have any soda brewing experience? it seems there is a moonshine made with his name too and a whole backstory there. that I can buy a little more for some reason. no matter in the end really.
this does in fact have a distinct recipe, which surprises me a bit. often the celebrity sodas resort to being generic. it is very creamy and smooth but with an unusual flavor along with it to give it a very nice zing. it is a butterscotch mixed with wintergreen flavor to me. it is very sweet, although with that much sugar I expected that. I admit, I really do enjoy this soda. it’s a very pleasant and great surprise. the head lasts forever, if you are concerned with that. so Junior, whether you had a hand in this or just hired someone, well done.
Ingredients:carbonated water, cane sugar, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors, sodium benzoate (preservative), yucca extract and phosphoric acid


Anthony’s Rating: 94
User’s Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

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2 Comments for this post

 
Charley Says:

If you knew anything about NASCAR you would know who Junior Johnson is. I don't know much about NASCAR, but I know who Junior Johnson is.

 
Charley Says:

Oh let me add one other thing. JJ is as famous a Bootlegger as a NASCAR driver. I can guarantee you his moonshine is authentic.

I don't know how authentic his root beer is, but a lot of alcohol makers made root beer during prohibition.

Most families used to have their own rootbeer recipe a couple generations ago. My grandparents had their own rootbeer recipe. My dad and his brothers used to make the rootbeer because they couldn't buy it in grocery stores or it was too expensive and my grandparents were poor with five kids. Just about everyone had their own root beer recipe a couple generations ago.

Sadly, most of that folk art has died out since rootbeer became cheaply available in grocery stores and restaurants. My dad said he made root beer as a grade school and junior high kid in the 1940s and early 50s, but he never made root beer again after there was an A&W drive-thru in the 1950s where he could conveniently go buy some. He said our family root beer recipe has been lost since the late 1950s.

Almost every American family used to have a recipe for root beer and apple cider two generations ago. That was always true even in the 1920's and earlier, but even more so during prohibition and it remained part of our common culture until the 1950s when affordable root beer became widely available in grocery stores and restaurants. Then most home recipes died out because most people didn't want to put in the effort when they could just buy some rootbeer (or apple cider) that was as good or better than their family recipes.

Common-place home-brewing was the first casualty of Americans becoming addicted to conveniences. It's also a casualty of kids having television, and later on having computers and smartphones. In the distant past, bored children made root beer and apple cider with their mom's loose supervision using recipes which were sometimes handed down from generation to generation, but could also be learned by getting a book on the subject from the library by the 1940s or 50s. A lot of times you can get the recipes from your local church to because they encouraged making non-alcoholic drinks. The recipes were not considered secrets to be guarded, but helpfulness to be shared. It was easy to get a recipe if you didn't already have your own.

Rootbeer and apple cider have always been popular with churchgoers who don't drink alcohol (like my grandparents). Their kids were generally the ones making it at home while the mom did essential chores. Nowadays people let the TV or smartphone babysit their kids. Back then, gradeschool kids did semi-useful fun projects that were exciting to grade school kids – like putting the kids in charge of making the root beer and apple cider to keep them busy and out of trouble. That was normal American life back then.

Though my dad says kids still found a way to get into trouble while making the apple cider. They we're supposed to make non-alcoholic apple cider, but they always hid a few bottles in the cellar to age and get hard (alcoholic), sometimes adding a handful of raisins to increase the alcohol content.

Outside the prohibition years, it was mainly church people who made and consumed rootbeer and non-alcoholic beverages.

Before prohibition, alcohol brewers couldn't be bothered with making rootbeer or no-alcohol apple cider. When prohibition came along they needed a legal way to make money. At that point many of former alcohol manufacturers turned to making root beer or no-alcohol apple cider. Recipes for root beer and apple cider were widely available. They weren't secret recipes (yet) since no one had ever made any signifigant money off those things.

During the prohibition years the professional brewers of alcohol became professional makers of root beer and apple cider so they could make a living legally. Most alcohol manufacturers tried to make an honest living, even though the illegal moonshiner got all the media coverage. Since the former alcohol manufacturers had factories setup for brewing they were well set up to make root beer or apple cider in large quantities, which made them widely available and affordable to buy in grocery stores and restaurants.

After prohibition ended, some alcohol manufacturers went back to making alcohol. Some continued to make rootbeer or apple cider and those industries have continued to this day, which is why we can cheaply buy them at stores and restaurants instead of having to make our own.

Microbrewery craft brewed root beer and apple cider is a recent phenomenon that's essentially returning to something slightly similar to how things used to be before mass production of root beer in large plants. The difference being that today's microbrews are professionally made by small business people instead of children under their mom's loose supervision. The end result is pretty similar though. The kids used to do a pretty good job.

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