Is A&W Root Beer Vegan? Can Vegans Drink A&W Root Beer?

Is A&W Root Beer Vegan

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Answer: Yes. A&W root beer contains 100% natural ingredients and is entirely vegan. What’s more, their diet root beer is vegan, too!

Yes

Root beer is a trendy drink, and it might be a surprise but it is better than other soft drinks. With A&W becoming popular and recognized because of their signature root beer, the question “is A&W root beer vegan?” arises in mind. It is a happy news that their iconic root beer is vegan and made using all-natural products.

Root beer is an incredibly refreshing drink and has a distinctly earthy and spicy flavor due to its ingredients. The bubbly and thick classic foam layer on top gives it that traditional beer look. With a hint of sweetness from the licorice and natural cane sugar, the A&W root beer is a treat to have. 

With all ingredients derived from plants, A&W has officially announced that their signature root beer and diet root beer are vegan-friendly and natural. Aside from the root beers, there are several other drinks and slushies that, too, are safe for vegans to consume.

A&W Root Beer

Traditionally, root beers were made from the sassafras tree’s root bark and included herbs, sugar, spices, and more to develop its flavor. The foamy layer was formed because of the sarsaparilla and sassafras in the root beers, as they are natural foaming agents. 

Later, though, many commercial manufacturers began to exclude these ingredients and instead heavily carbonated the drink while also adding a surfactant to retain the bubbles for longer.

Root beer is also popularly enjoyed as a floating drink with ice cream serving on top. Root beer floats might not be vegan, depending on the ingredients of the ice creams. If the ice cream is made from plant-based ingredients and is vegan-friendly, then the root beer floats are acceptable for you. Otherwise, it is best to opt for the regular root beers which have confirmed vegan ingredients.

A&W is a popular chain of restaurants in America, Canada, and other parts of the world that offer people an all American experience. However, the Canadian chain is unaffiliated with the American one. The Canadian A&W was the one to take the initiative of including Beyond Burger and other plant-based meat items. A few of the A&W branches in the US have Beyond Burgers in their menu, but many don’t. 

If you plan on having any burgers of plant-based meat items at A&W, it is better to call in ahead and ask if their menu includes vegan items or not. Besides, the vegan A&W root beer will always be an optimal option in all the A&W branches.

How Is A&W Root Beer Vegan?

The root beer was A&W’s signature item when they first began in 1919, with just a stall. Over the years, it has still retained its natural and fresh flavoring and on-site production. A&W released their nutritional guide and ingredient details, confirming that their root beers were safe for vegan consumption. The ingredients list for their classic root beer is as follows:

  • Carbonated water 
  • Sucrose 
  • High fructose corn syrup 
  • Caramel color 
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Sodium benzoate 
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Red #40 

The enigmatic blend of rich, intense, and spicy flavors included in the root beer are taken from natural cane sugar, birch bark, sarsaparilla root, anise, and licorice root.

It is important to note that the caramel color in an A&W root beer is obtained without dairy products. Many companies use caramel obtained from milk to achieve that dark earthy color. 

A&W, however, makes use of other natural sugars besides lactose to get that dark caramel shade. These natural sugars like fructose, dextrose, sucrose, invert sugar, molasses, and malt syrup are entirely natural and vegan as they are free from any traces of animal products. Every gallon of the A&W root beer contains 500g of net carbs.

The A&W beer may be vegan, but it is not gluten-free. So, be careful if you wish to avoid any gluten-free drinks. Besides their traditional root beer, A&W also has a diet root beer for those who want to cut down on some calories. 

A&W Diet Root Beer

The ingredients for the diet root beer are slightly different from the classic one. The components included are:

  • Carbonated water
  • Caramel color
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Sodium saccharin
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Citric acid
  • Silicone antifoam emulsion

All the ingredients are free from any animal testing and do not contain any dairy or animal products. The diet root beer, too, contains gluten and is not fit for gluten intolerant people. The diet root beer is also free from any carbs, sugars, fats, and calories.

Are Any A&W Root Beers Non-Vegan?

The signature beers, both diet and regular, are very vegan-friendly at A&W. However, their other versions of the root beer, like root beer floats and freeze, are not vegan. They are vegetarian. Aside from them, there are various smoothies, shakes, slushies, floats, and drinks that are not safe for vegan consumption. 

Their regular burgers (minus Beyond Burger), breakfast platters, and shakes contain animal and dairy products, making them a non-vegan option. 

There are some items on the menu you could alternatively order to put together a vegan meal for yourself. Those would include fries, hash browns, pea protein, plant-based Beyond Burger, Mott’s applesauce, and sweet potato fries.

Many root beer brands may not cater to the vegan standard and can include products like honey or artificial flavor derived from animals. When choosing, it is crucial to make sure beforehand.

Is A&W Root Beer Healthy?

A&W root beers are 100% plant-based and are not artificially carbonated, making them a healthy drink. However, researchers say that some root beers that are carbonated and are similar to soft drinks can be harmful. As artificially carbonated drinks are highly acidic, they can cause tooth structure loss and erosion of teeth enamel.

Traditional root beer used to be derived from plant products like sassafras, sarsaparilla, birch bark, licorice roots, fennel, fenugreek, vanilla pods, cinnamon, ginger, mint, and more. The ingredients are healthy and derived from nature, but later studies found that the sassafras contained safrole, a carcinogen. This led to the commercial root beer producers turning to artificial sassafras flavoring since the distinct flavor of the classic root beers came from sassafras. Though made from all-natural elements, traditional root beer that uses sassafras may not be a very healthy drink because of the cancer-causing agents.

A&W root beers do not contain any safrole as they use safrole-free sassafras extracts and base their beer on sarsaparilla instead. This makes them relatively healthier options than other root beers that have safrole.

Besides that, soft drinks are heavily carbonated and contain acids that are harmful to the teeth and the enamel. On the other hand, root beer lacks the other carbonated drinks’ acidity and is gentler on the teeth.

To sum up, root beer is a healthy option if one wants a refreshing beverage. 

Healthy Alternatives To A&W Root Beers

Even though A&W root beer is healthy and plant-based for vegans to consume, if you’re trying out other vegan drinks, then A&W has several options for you. A few slushies and beverages are free from dairy products and will make good alternatives to root beer. If you’re looking for fruity drinks, then the strawberry, cherry, and regular limeade are good options. Their cherry, lemon, watermelon, lime, and blue raspberry slushies are all vegan too.

Wrap Up

A&W root beer is famous for its delicious, smooth, spicy, aromatic, rich, and bittersweet flavors. 

A&W root beer has been around for more than a century. The company offers one of the best takes on traditional root beer, all the while making it vegan-friendly and healthy, too. 

Although they have yet to include an extensive vegan menu, their Beyond Burgers is a start. Besides their all-natural root beers, offered in both regular and diet versions, you can try other healthy slushies and limeades, too. With A&W root beer free from animal products, vegans can enjoy them without any concerns.