Hear, Hear! Root Beer! - Post IX
The Pop Shoppe
Packaging: 4 12 oz. Glass Bottles
1969, the Summer of Love, all the way through 1983 saw The Pop Shoppe’s original run, starting in London, Ontario Canada and finding its way in different corners of the world. Sadly, the soda company went away in the early 80’s citing slow sales and market value, only to be resurrected almost 20 years later in 2002 by Brian Alger, an entrepreneur who grew up as a kid drinking The Pop Shoppe brand soda. 9 years later, the soda was re-introduced in the United States, and here we are, at the shelf of my local grocery store.
Pure cane sugar: check. Caffeine free: check. Two essentials that I look for in a root beer and definitely contribute towards the quality of the drink. Licorice is their weapon of choice here, but it’s not overwhelming, leaving only a hint of the ingredient to linger in your mouth. From a taste perspective, it really has more in common with a cola than a root beer, but the “rootiness” is still there. Not heavily carbonated, smooth going down and an average head make for an enjoyable drink.
The drink comes in a nice package, with a heavy 50’s era nostalgia to it dominated with browns, reds and whites. The package is neat in that it’s offset with a raised half, giving more room for the artwork which consists of simple red and white circles. The bottle was kind of a letdown, because from what I’ve seen online and as is shown on the package, the bottle is a short stubby little thing; but what I got was your standard thin 12 ounce long neck. Odd, because the other flavors that The Pop Shoppe makes actually do come in the shorter bottle. The long neck approach doesn’t really hold up well with this drink, and feels inferior and generic compared to other stout bottles like Boylan or Hank’s. The label and the smaller label on the neck are printed onto the clear while glass bottle, and I guess it’s because the glass is clear as opposed to a darker tinted bottle that it gives me a generic feel. The smaller label boasts “since 1969”, which they’re certainly entitled to claim, even if they did take a near 20 year hiatus.
This is a good root beer, and I really like the packaging best. It’s charming and cute, evoking a playful attitude contrary to what other root beers that take themselves to serious project. I’d argue with the bottle if I had to, but I know from what I’ve seen that you can get the stubby bottle shown on the package through other avenues. The drink itself drinks more like a cola with a hint of licorice, but is ultimately smooth going down with an average head. Plus, I’m an advocate for pure cane sugar and caffeine free sodas so this a must try for any root beer purist.