A&W, a popular chain famous for their Root Beer, was first created in June of 1919 in Lodi, California by a entrepreneur named Roy Allen. He originally purchased the formula for the root beer from a pharmacist in Arizona, which even to today, remains a secret.
After a while, Allen realized the success of the store and opened a second store in Sacramento. This store also brought the U.S. it's first drive-in by using "tray-boys" on the curb side to help with ordering.
In 1922 Allen recruited the help of Frank Wright and started to name the stores A&W by using their last initials. And before 1924 they opened 3 more restaurants in the Sacramento area.
But in 1924, Allen bought Wright's share in the company, and continued to expand the chain. By 1933 there were over 170 A&W's across the west and mid-west. He also started to make concentrate and sell it to the franchise owners to help make a uniform taste for all the stores.
Soon after that, World War II hit, but surprisingly A&W did not suffer much from the war, even with the sugar rations in place. And after the war, the number of stores increased exponentially due to GI loans were given to start businesses.
In 1950, the founder retired and sold the business to Gene Hurtz. Hurtz was an aggressive businessman and in ten years had the stores numbering in the 2000s.
There were still a couple firsts for the company years ahead, like the first restaurant outside the U.S. opened in Winnipeg, Canada in 1956, and the first overseas store opened in Guam in 1963 and quickly expanded to the Philippines.
Nothing major has happened since then, the company has been sold and restructured several times, but the old time theme of good ol' American food and root beer in a frosty mug has remained true for nearly 100 years now.