Mug Root Beer Guide and Facts

Beyond the shadow of a doubt, Mug Root Beer is an iconic drink. It has been bobbing around the internet as a meme for a couple of years now, inspiring many laughs and Mug Moments. But where did Mug Root Beer come from, and how healthy is it?

Well, these are the kinds of questions we’ll be tackling as we seek to find out everything there is to know about Mug Root Beer. But first, what is it anyway?

What is Mug Root Beer?

What is Mug Root Beer

As you have probably guessed, Mug Root Beer is a brand of root beer that is currently owned by Pepsico. Despite the “Beer” tag in its name, Mug Root Beer isn’t a beer. It’s a carbonated soft drink that is squeezed from the roots of the majestic Sassafras and sarsaparilla trees. And that is why we call it “Root” beer.

So how do you pick out Mug Root Beer from a lineup of root beers?

Well, that’s easy. You can tell Mug Root Beer apart by the messaging on its label. The first thing that hits you is that grinning bulldog that is holding a mug of foamy root beer. Around this bulldog are the words “Mug” and “Root Beer,” prominently printed above and below the canine, respectively.

What Does Mug Root Beer Actually Taste Like?

What Does Mug Root Beer Actually Taste Like

If you haven’t had a sip of Mug Root Beer, boy, are you in for a treat? The first thing that hits you is the sharp bite of the fizz as the root beer bubbles in your mouth. It feels sort of like a false bitterness, and that’s how you know your drink isn’t flat.

The next thing you notice is the prominent flavors of caramel and vanilla, all bathed in sweetness. But the thing that sets Mug Root Beer apart from its competition is its palpable wintergreen taste.

Put all these things together, and you have one very refreshing drink, a good companion to some pizzas or fries.

History of Mug Root Beer

Every iconic brand has an equally legendary story of its origins, and Mug Root Beer is no different. In our case, we have to go back to 1940 in San Francisco, California. This was the year that New Century Beverage Company presented Mug Root Beer to the world, although under a different name, Belfast Root Beer.

You see, the New Century Beverage Company had been known for ginger ales and sparkling water, and everyone was excited about their new drink. Belfast Root Beer struck a chord with the masses, and it caught on. You can trace Belfast Root Beer’s ads as far as 1947 with the tagline, “You Haven’t Tasted Root Beer Like This in Years!”

In the ‘50s, Belfast took on the rather lengthy title of “Belfast Old Fashioned Mug Root Beer.” In the same decade, the brand shed “Belfast” from its name and was happy with “Old Fashioned Mug Root Beer.” This name was tweaked once more to the brand we know and love today, “Mug Root Beer.”

In 1986, all that success caught the eye of PepsiCo, and the soda giant approached New Century Beverage Company with an offer they couldn’t possibly refuse, and they bought the Mug Root Beer brand. To date, it is PepsiCo that pumps out the delicious bottles of Mug Root Beer that we like to pair with a slice of Pizza.

Packaging and Varieties

Mug root beer comes in all shapes, sizes, and quantities, all designed to quench all sorts of thirst. Below are the packaging formats that you can expect at your local convenience store.

1. Mug Root Beer 2-Liter Bottle

Mug Root Beer 2-Liter Bottle

Why not start with Mug Root Beer’s largest packaging format? I’m talking about the 2-liter bottle brown bottle of Mug Root Beer. And if you’re not familiar with the metric system, that would be 2.1 quarts or 67.2 fluid ounces.

According to the label, PepsiCo reveals that each 2-liter bottle contains approximately 5.6 12oz servings of caffeine-free Mug Root Beer. And each serving contains 160 calories.

And if you’re one to buy in bulk, the 2-liter Mug Root Beer comes in cases of eight, enough for any party.

2. Mug Root Beer 20-Ounce Bottle

Mug Root Beer 20-Ounce Bottle

Mug Root Beer also comes in 20 oz plastic bottles. The label is consistent with that of 2-liter bottles. The front features a prominent “Mug Root Beer” logo with a “No Cafein” description. And if you want it in bulk, 24-pack cases are available.

3. Mug Root Beer 16.9-Ounce Bottles

Keeping with the theme of plastic bottles, Mug Root Beer also comes in 16.9 oz bottles. The bottle and label designs are consistent with the 20 oz bottle. If it were not for the difference in size, you wouldn’t tell these bottles apart.

And, of course, you can buy it in bulk in cases that hold 24 bottles.

4. Mug Root Beer 12-Ounce Cans

If you want to do your part for the environment, you can opt for a can of Mug Root Beer. The 12 oz can is the largest of the can in the series. As you would expect from Mug Root Beer, the 12 oz can features a prominent logo of the brand. And no, there’s no caffeine here.

Cases are available, and they each hold 24 cans of refreshing Mug Root Beer.

5. Mug Root Beer 7.5-Ounce Cans

If 12 oz is a little too much for you, you can opt for the 7.5 oz can. This packaging option is a spitting image of the 12 oz can. As for cases, they hold 30 cans.

Mug Root Beer: Health Considerations

Mug Root Beer Health Considerations

Is Mug Root Beer Beer a healthy drink? Well, that’s a broad question, and there’s so much to consider. Why don’t we look at the factors that may have implications for your health?

Mug Root Beer: Ingredients

What makes a glass of an ice-cold Mug Root Beer? For that, we turn to the ingredients section on the label.

Below is a table showing the ingredients contained in every serving of Mug Root Beer and their possible health implication:

Ingredient Health Benefits Health Risks
Carbonated water ● Keeps you hydrated

● Soothes stomach pain

● Tooth Decay

● Gas and bloating

Caramel food color ● Not known ● Causes cancer in rats
High fructose Corn Syrup ● Energy boost ● Obesity

● Liver issues

● Gout

● Type 2 diabetes

Calcium Disodium EDTA (preservative) ● Neutralizes lead in blood

● Fights cancer

● Anemia

● Blood clot in vein

● High blood calcium

● Insulin shock

● Aching joints

● Irregular heartbeats

Sodium Benzoate (preservative) ● Not known ● Cancer

● Miscarriages

● Allergies

● Increased ADHD symptom

● Inflammation

Quillaia extract ● May lower cholesterol ● Stomach irritation

● Liver and kidney damage

Citric acid ● May lower urine acid ● Tooth decay

● Stomach upset

Natural  and artificial flavors ● Not known ● Not known
Modified Food Starch ● Energy boost ● Allergies

● Bloating

● Digestive distress


Note: I know, it’s scary. But when it comes to health risks, it’s a quantities game. Most of these ingredients are sprinkled in small quantities and may be safe for you. But it is also important to drink Mug Root Beer in moderation. I know it’s hard; Mug Root Beer is a tasty little drink.

Mug Root Beer: Calories

For every 12 oz serving of Mug Root beer, there are 160 calories. Well, is this too much or too little? Why don’t we compare Mug Root Beer with some of America’s favorite soft drinks?

Soda Calories Per 12 oz Serving
Coca-Cola 129 calories
Diet Coke 0 calories
Pepsi 150 calories
Dr. Pepper 150 calories
Mountain Dew 170 calories
Sprite 133 calories
Fanta Orange 160 calories
Sierra Mist 140 calories
Sunkist 160 calories
7-Up 160 calories

From the table above, you can see that Mug Root Beer is on par with other soft drinks. Plus, consuming a lot of calories isn’t necessarily unhealthy. It just means you have to work out more. For people living an active lifestyle, these calories are necessary because they need them to get by.

Mug Root Beer: Caffeine Content

There’s good news here, Mug Root Beer does not contain any caffeine. Kids can drink it, and you don’t have to worry about hyperactivity and all the effects of a high-caffeine soda.

Mug Root Beer: Alcohol Content

It may say “Beer,” but Mug Root Beer is not an actual beer. It may foam up like a beer would, but Mug Root Beer doesn’t contain alcohol. The “Beer” in the name was a clever scheme to get miners interested in root beer.

Hey, we have an article that explains the history of root beer and why they call it root beer. Why don’t you check it out?

Final Thoughts

Mug Root Beer has been exciting our taste buds since the 1940s. It has gone through a major name change and several rebrands. It even changed hands in the 80s.

So whether it was called Belfast Root Beer or Belfast Old Fashioned Mug Root Beer, one thing is for certain, America loves it some Mug Root Beer. And what’s not to love? It has no caffeine, and it doesn’t impair your judgment. And most important of all, it tastes awesome!

Mug Root Beer Guide and Facts

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