Barq’s may be the unofficial official soft drink of New Orleans. The Barq’s Bottling Company was founded in the French Quarter in 1890 by Edward Charles Edmond Barq Sr. and his brother, Gaston. They bottled carbonated water and soft drinks, including one called “Orangine” which won a gold medal at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.
Barq Sr. moved to Biloxi in 1897 and started bottling drinks out of the Biloxi Artesian Bottling Works there, including Barq’s root beer.
One of the company’s franchises was given to Jesse Robinson in Louisiana. Robinson refined the Barq’s recipe, so the soft drink had a slightly different taste in Louisiana. The Louisiana labels of Barq’s were red, while the drinks bottled in Biloxi were blue. A dispute over ownership of the company stemming from that Louisiana bottling franchise stretched on until 2011.
The soft drink was lightly advertised, primarily with the slogan on the bottle: “Drink Barq’s. It’s Good.”
In 1976, New Orleanians John Oudt and John Koerner bought Barq’s and moved the company’s headquarters to New Orleans. The company was sold to Coca-Cola in 1995 for $91 million.