Sunday, March 4, 2012

A label for Frostie Root Beer
(a jailhouse-born beverage)


Here's a pristine label, measuring 6 inches wide by 4½ inches tall, that would have been applied to a one-gallon container of Frostie Root Beer fountain and vending syrup.

Some details from the label:
  • The correct ratio to use was one ounce of syrup added to five ounces of ice-cold carbonated water. (By my math, that means you could get 128 servings from one gallon of syrup.)
  • The ingredients were: sugar, caramel color, artificial and natural flavors, water and no more than 1/10 of 1% of sodium benzoate.
  • The syrup's "use in bottled beverages is absolutely forbidden."
  • The syrup was distributed by Chas. Gray Beverage Co. of Janesville, Wisconsin, which is no longer is business.
Frostie Root Beer is still around, but it has changed hands a number of times since it was created by George Rackensperger in 1939. According to this excellent online history:
"Renting an abandoned jailhouse in Catonsville, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore, [Rackensperger] used the garage that formerly housed the police wagon for setting up his bottling equipment ... and the various cells were employed to store sugar, crowns, and other supplies. In this small and unassuming enterprise, there was born a product which rapidly forced the elimination of the many flavors being bottled by Mr. Rackensperger. ... Frostie Old Fashion Root Beer had dwarfed all other plant products in sales. Consumer acceptance and volume sales rapidly brought about the need for much larger quarters and larger machinery to handle the continuing growth. Mr. Rackensperger left the jailhouse ... and a new modern plant was built."
For more history of Frostie Root Beer, check out the article by "CokeGirl" on the Soda TraderZ website.

In addition to root beer, flavors offered by Frostie today include diet root beer, vanilla root beer, blue cream soda, cherry limeade, concord grape and orange.

The Frostie brand, as mentioned, has gone through the following ownership changes, according to Wikipedia:
  • In 1979, it was sold to Monarch Beverage Company of Atlanta, Georgia.
  • In 2000, it was sold to Leading Edge Brands of Temple, Texas.
  • In 2009, it was sold to Intrastate Distributors Inc. of Detroit, Michigan.
Despite all the changes, the Frostie folks seem to have maintained a great attitude. The "Fun" section of the official website includes a request for customers to submit photos of themselves with a Frostie beverage (and jokingly states that: "All photos submitted ... become property of Intrastate Distributors Inc., where they may be used for marketing purposes or hung on the wall for dart practice.") There's also a list of Frostie Root Beer recipes, including Frostie Root Beer Cake, Frostie Root Beer BBQ Sauce and Frostie Root Beer Baked Beans.

So, who out there drinks Frostie products? Comment below!

6 comments:

  1. I grew up in Monnessen, PA where my dad worked in the steel mill. Every payday, we would get to go to this small drive-in type place. It was called Frosties and the sign was exactly like Frostie himself. When you ordered a root beer float (my favorite) it would come in a boot mug and you got to keep the boot mug.
    Between my brother and I. we must have had 12 of those mugs! I still love Frostie and buy it whenever I see it. But here in the south, I cannot find it anywhere. That drive-in is long gone now, as are the mills and my parents, but Frosties root beer is still with us.

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    1. Frostie is available in GA NC SC at Ingles Supermarkets out of Asheville NC.

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  2. i havent seen frostie root beer in at least 40 years,thought it wasnt made anymore,until today! thanks to SHEETZ! awesome root beer!

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  3. Frostie is available from Ingles Supermarkets based in Asheville NC with over 200 stores in NC SC GA

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  4. Frostie.biz is company site but it is extremely poor.

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  5. First tasted Frostie root beer when we moved to Texas in 1958. It had a distinctive taste then and the formula does not seem to have changed; it tastes the same now as it did then, which is a very good thing.

    In south Texas, Arlens Supermarkets stocks Frostie line and our store carries root beer, diet root beer, orange, grape and I believe cherry limeade. Their root beer is still a great beverage and I think their concord grape is the best of commercial grape soda.

    Keep up the good work, Interstate. It's nice to have a product retain its quality for almost 60 years of my life.

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