Like several other soft drinks, Hires Root Beer (now owned by Dr Pepper Snapple) was developed by a pharmacist. According to one of the many stories behind the origin of America’s oldest root beer, Philadelphia’s Charles E. Hires discovered an herbal tea made of roots, berries, and herbs while on his honeymoon.
His decision to market the beverage as a beer rather than a tea, as
he had originally considered doing, appealed to the Pennsylvania
miners and added to Hires’ popularity during Prohibition. Incidentally,
the R-J on the bottle stood for Root Juices.