1941 Dad`s Root Beer Truck

Published September 18, 2023

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Dad’s Old Fashioned Root Beer in 1941
5th Street
Shawano, WI

Photo of the day from 1941, a Dad’s Old Fashioned Root Beer delivery truck on Fifth Street in Shawano Wisconsin.   You can see the Raddant Brewery in the background.   There’s a little boy enjoying a root beer, sitting on top of the delivery truck.  On the side of the truck is a sign that reads, “Drink Cheer Up” and another sign on the back that reads, “3 Popular Sizes, Papa, Mama, and Junior.”

Dad’s Root Beer was created in 1937 by Ely Klapman and Barney Berns in the basement of Klapman’s home in Chicago.  Always a Midwestern company, Dad’s is now headquartered in Indiana. From its outset, Dad’s was about good root beer, ready for consumption by all.

Dad’s Root Beer distinguished itself as a brand and industry innovator when it became the first product to use the six pack format invented by the Atlanta Paper Company in the 1940s. Dad’s also introduced the half-gallon bottle, becoming the first brand to market this size. Dad’s was marketed as a family. “Junior” bottle size was the smallest, 7, 10 or 12 ounces.  “Mama” was a quart bottle, and “Papa” was a half gallon bottle. (The image of the young boy featured on the “Junior” size bottle is Barney Berns’ son, Gene Berns.)  A common promotion in the 1940s was the 1 cent sale – purchase the Papa half gallon at regular price and get the Mama quart for 1 cent.