Lynnwood store is paradise for root beer lover

  • By Andrea Brown, Herald writer
  • Thursday, February 14, 2013 9:28pm
  • LifeLynnwood

Armed with three six-packs, Robert Spragg was ready for the weekend.

“I bought two last time. I’m trying some new stuff,” he said. “I’m a root beer-aholic.”

About 200 brands of root beer and specialty sodas line the shelves of The Root Beer Store on Highway 99 in Lynnwood.

Shoppers grab an empty six pack container and mix it up. Most brands are caffeine-free and run $1.83 a bottle.

“It’s the beer alternative for families,” said owner Corey Anderson, who also has a store in Redmond. “We want to bring that fun and culture back to the American mainstream.”

The stores sell root beer everything: kegs, candies, popcorns, syrups, hats, T-shirts.

Anderson said the $25 starter kits that make four liters of root beer are a popular family item.

“So many of our customers said they made root beer as a kid,” he said. “I made root beer with my dad growing up. It’s kind of a lost art.”

An ice cream counter serving root beer floats in frosted mugs is in the works for the Lynnwood store.

Anderson opened the Redmond store in 2010 and a year later set up the Lynnwood shop.

He’d already established an online business selling ostrich feather-dusters … and that led to root beer how?

“I had some free time,” he said. “I decided, ‘Why not do something I’d like to do? If it doesn’t make money, oh, well.’”

So far, word-of-mouth, social media and Groupon advertising has reeled in root beer revelers.

There are also cream, orange, blue and green sodas.

Anderson said there is no standardized recipe for root beer. What makes it root beer is the blend of ingredients such as licorice, vanilla, wintergreen, cherry tree bark, nutmeg, anise, molasses, cinnamon, clove and honey.

“Some are more accented than others,” he said.

With so many varieties of root beer, how do people know what to buy?

Store worker Erik Uri, who has tried most of the brews, said a quick question often does the trick.

“I’ll ask them if they prefer sweeter things or more salty. Would you rather have chips or candy?”

Then Uri steers them accordingly.

Of course, another way is to choose is based on the looks of the bottle. If you don’t like the taste, after all, just add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Root beer origins

Root beer was popularized in the U.S. in the late 1870s when a Pennsylvania pharmacist bottled the soft drink as a tangy alternative for the hard-beer-drinking miners. During the Temperance Movement, root beer received a boost from wives trying to decrease their husbands’ consumption of intoxicating liquors. During Prohibition, it was an alternative so breweries could stay afloat. These days, some craft breweries make root beer on the side.

Join the club

The Root Beer Stores have free monthly tastings. Tastings are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. the first Saturday of the month at the Lynnwood store, 20015 Highway 99, Suite G; and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every third Saturday of the month in Redmond, 7102 180th Ave. NE, A-103.

Want to be a card-carrying root beer fan? Ten dollars buys a membership in the Association of Root Beer Enthusiasts, and includes a bumper sticker, welcome letter and official membership card and certificate.

For more information, see -->

More in Life

Ice queen: Local women’s hockey team founder is fearless

Leslie Tidball’s fearless competitive spirit keeps her going strong in ice hockey at 64 years old.

Sarita Viramontiz attempts a start off the blocks during an open house at the Granite Curling Club Sunday night in Seattle on February 18, 2018. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Granite Curling Club hosts open houses to teach the Olympic sport

With the 2018 Winter Games wrapping up, the club expects its informal classes to fill up quickly.

Making chores fun: Clean up the kitchen in five easy steps

“Zone cleaning” is to do one step at a time, which means that chores aren’t overwhelming.

How to entice a wide range of winged friends to your yard

A Tulalip Bay couple shares how they encourage birds, bees and butterflies to visit their garden.

You can bird-proof your home to prevent window deaths

Studies estimate that billions of birds die after crashing into glass in the U.S. each year.

American horror: What can we do to prevent mass murder?

There isn’t a single cause or a single solution for deathly shootings like the one in Florida.

Discovering the romance of Germany’s Black Forest

Avoid the tourist traps and immerse yourself in the region’s charming countryside.

Growing up: Some plants go through changes not unlike puberty

Arborvitae, junipers, spruce and pines, for example, exhibit juvenile and adult characteristics.

Decorated ceramic pig bares famous Wemyss Ware trademark

Very early flower-decorated pigs from Wemyss Ware have auctioned for over $30,000.

Most Read