Old Fashioned Root Beer Barrel Candy: A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

Old fashioned root beer barrel candy, with its nostalgic charm and timeless appeal, has captivated taste buds for generations. Its unique shape, rich root beer flavor, and chewy texture evoke memories of simpler times and bring a smile to the faces of candy lovers young and old.

This beloved confectionery has a rich history, dating back to the early 1900s. It has played a significant role in American culture, appearing in countless movies, TV shows, and literature. Its versatility extends to both sweet and savory dishes, adding a touch of whimsy to desserts and a burst of flavor to trail mix.


Old fashioned root beer barrel candy is a type of hard candy that has a unique barrel shape and a root beer flavor.

It is made with sugar, corn syrup, water, natural and artificial flavors, and colors. The candy is cooked in a copper kettle and then poured into molds to create the barrel shape.

Unique Characteristics and Flavors

Old fashioned root beer barrel candy has a hard, crunchy texture and a sweet, root beer flavor. The candy is often sold in bulk and can be found in many candy stores and online retailers.

History and Origin

Old fashioned root beer barrel candy

The origins of root beer barrel candy can be traced back to the late 19th century, when candy makers began experimenting with different flavors and shapes for their confections. One such candy maker, August Goelitz, created a candy in the shape of a miniature wooden barrel, inspired by the traditional wooden barrels used to store and dispense root beer.

Goelitz Confectionery Company

Goelitz, a German immigrant, established his confectionery company in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1868. Initially, the company produced a variety of candies, including fruit-flavored chews and hard candies. In 1899, Goelitz introduced the root beer barrel candy, which quickly became a popular treat.

The candy’s unique shape and flavorful root beer taste made it an instant hit with consumers.

Manufacturing Process

Crafting old-fashioned root beer barrel candy is a meticulous process that requires precision and adherence to traditional techniques. The candy-making process typically involves several key steps:


The primary ingredients for root beer barrel candy include sugar, corn syrup, water, natural and artificial flavors, and coloring agents. The specific blend of flavors and colors used can vary depending on the desired taste and appearance of the final product.


Specialized equipment is necessary for making root beer barrel candy. This includes a candy kettle or cooker, a thermometer, a mold, and a cooling rack.


The candy-making process begins with combining the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a candy kettle and heating the mixture until it reaches a specific temperature, typically around 310°F (154°C). The temperature is closely monitored using a thermometer to ensure the candy reaches the desired consistency.

Once the desired temperature is reached, the mixture is removed from the heat and the flavors and colors are added. The candy is then poured into a mold and allowed to cool and harden.

After the candy has hardened, it is removed from the mold and placed on a cooling rack to cool completely. The candy is then ready to be packaged and enjoyed.

Cultural Significance: Old Fashioned Root Beer Barrel Candy

Root beer barrel candy holds a special place in American culture, evoking a sense of nostalgia and childhood memories.

Its distinctive shape and flavor have made it an iconic candy, featured in popular culture and fondly recalled by generations.

In Popular Culture, Old fashioned root beer barrel candy

  • The candy has been referenced in numerous films, TV shows, and songs, including “The Goonies,” “Stranger Things,” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days.”
  • Its shape and design have inspired a variety of merchandise, such as T-shirts, mugs, and even jewelry.


For many people, root beer barrel candy is associated with childhood and simpler times.

Its sweet, tangy flavor and unique shape trigger memories of childhood treats, family gatherings, and summer vacations.

Variations and Flavors

Old fashioned root beer barrel candy is not just limited to its classic flavor. Over the years, various manufacturers have introduced unique variations and flavors to cater to different tastes and preferences.

Some notable variations include:

Blue Raspberry

This variation features a vibrant blue color and a sweet, tangy raspberry flavor that adds a fruity twist to the traditional root beer taste.


With its deep purple hue, the grape variation offers a juicy and refreshing grape flavor that blends well with the root beer notes.


The cherry variation combines the classic root beer flavor with the sweet and slightly tart taste of cherries, creating a delightful combination.

Cream Soda

This variation combines the root beer flavor with the creamy sweetness of cream soda, resulting in a smooth and indulgent treat.

Sensory Experience

Old-fashioned root beer barrel candy offers a distinctive and tantalizing sensory experience that evokes childhood memories and sparks a nostalgic craving. Upon biting into the candy, a burst of sweet and tangy flavors dances on the tongue, creating a symphony of sensations.


The dominant flavor is a sweet and slightly spicy root beer, capturing the essence of the beloved beverage. Hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and wintergreen add a subtle complexity, creating a well-rounded and satisfying taste that lingers on the palate.


The candy’s texture is a delightful blend of soft and chewy, with a slight crunch from the sugar crystals. The chewiness provides a satisfying bite, while the sugar crystals add a subtle textural contrast that enhances the overall experience.


The aroma of root beer barrel candy is as enticing as its taste. The sweet and spicy notes of root beer waft through the air, creating an irresistible fragrance that awakens the senses. The candy’s distinct scent evokes memories of old-fashioned candy stores and childhood treats.

Packaging and Marketing

Root beer barrel candy’s packaging and marketing strategies have played a significant role in its enduring popularity. The candy’s distinctive barrel shape and red and white striped wrapper have become iconic symbols.

Creative Packaging Designs

Over the years, the candy’s packaging has undergone various redesigns to maintain its appeal to consumers. Some notable examples include:

  • Limited Edition Vintage Tins:In 2017, Ferrara Candy Company released a limited-edition line of root beer barrel candies packaged in vintage-style tins featuring nostalgic designs.
  • Holiday-Themed Packaging:During the holiday season, root beer barrel candies are often sold in festive packaging, such as red and green wrappers or boxes decorated with winter motifs.

Nutritional Information

Root beer barrel candy is generally high in sugar content, providing a significant amount of calories. The exact nutritional composition may vary depending on the specific brand and manufacturing process, but here’s a general overview:

A typical serving of root beer barrel candy (about 10 pieces) contains approximately:

  • Calories: 150-200
  • Sugar: 20-25 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 40-50 grams

It’s important to note that these candies are not a significant source of essential nutrients like vitamins or minerals.


Whether enjoyed as a standalone treat or incorporated into culinary creations, old fashioned root beer barrel candy continues to hold a special place in our hearts. Its enduring popularity is a testament to its timeless appeal and the enduring power of nostalgia.

As we savor each bite, we not only indulge in a sweet delight but also embark on a nostalgic journey that transports us back to simpler times.

Questions and Answers

What is the history of old fashioned root beer barrel candy?

Old fashioned root beer barrel candy was first created in the early 1900s and quickly became a popular treat. It was originally made with real root beer, giving it its distinctive flavor.

What are the ingredients in old fashioned root beer barrel candy?

The main ingredients in old fashioned root beer barrel candy are sugar, corn syrup, water, gelatin, and root beer flavoring.

What is the nutritional value of old fashioned root beer barrel candy?

Old fashioned root beer barrel candy is high in sugar and calories, but it also contains some essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and calcium.

Where can I buy old fashioned root beer barrel candy?

Old fashioned root beer barrel candy can be found in most grocery stores and candy shops.