The Great Root Bear is the popular mascot for A&W Root Beer, an American soft drink. It was first used in 1974 by Canada’s A&W, and was later adopted by the American chain.
Root beer is a beverage that comes in two forms, alcoholic and as a soft drink. The alcoholic version is made from a combination of vanilla, cherry tree bark, licorice root, sarsaparilla root, artificial sassafras root bark flavoring (the pure form is mildly carcinogenic), nutmeg, anise, and molasses among other ingredients. The soft drink version of root beer is non-alcoholic and is generally made using root beer extract or other flavored syrups along with carbonated water. The soft drink version of root beer constitutes about 3% of the American soft drink market.