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How Much Caffeine Is in Barq’s Root Beer? Surprising Facts!

Barq's root beer soda pouring into glass

Caffeine (serving: 12 fl oz)
22.5 mg
Caffeine (mg / fl oz)
Caffeine strength

Root beer hits the spot, whether you want to drink it straight out of the can or add it to an ice cream float. Barq’s is a famous root beer that is sold throughout the U.S., and it has plenty of competition. Is Barq’s caffeine-free? And if so, does the caffeine occur naturally, or is it an added ingredient? Read more about Barq’s caffeine content and how it compares to other sodas and iced coffees.

The short answer is that there are 22 mg of caffeine in a 12-ounce can of Barq’s Root Beer.

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Does Barq’s Have Caffeine?

Barq’s Root Beer is not caffeine-free. A 12-ounce can contains 22 milligrams (mg) of caffeine. Unlike coffee and tea, the caffeine does not occur naturally. The caffeine in Barq’s Root Beer is an added ingredient. However, some counties in Utah sell decaffeinated versions of Barq’s original root beer. Barq’s offers two caffeine-free sodas that are available nationwide: Diet Root Beer and Red Creme Soda.

Barq's Root Beer in can

Does Root Beer Have Caffeine?

Barq’s is unique in that it has added caffeine. Most root beer sold in the U.S. is caffeine-free.

If you crave root beer but want to avoid caffeine, try one of these brands:

Barq’s Root Beer versus Other Canned Sodas

Compared to other soda brands, Barq’s Root Beer has a relatively low caffeine content.

Brand Caffeine Content per 12 Ounces
Pepsi 38 mg
Coca-Cola Original 34 mg
Mountain Dew 54 mg
7up 0 mg
Sprite 0 mg
Dr. Pepper 41 mg
Crush Orange Soda 0 mg
Barq’s 22 mg

Barq's Root Beer Diet

Barq’s Root Beer versus Iced Coffee

Compared to Barq’s, most iced coffee has seven times as much caffeine. As noted in the chart below, the caffeine content in Dunkin’ Donuts cold brew is much higher than the competition. The beans and the methods used to brew coffee affect the caffeination levels.

Barq’s Root Beer is a good option if you want a cold, lower-caffeine drink.

Brand Caffeine Content per 12 ounces
Starbucks Cold Brew 155 mg
Starbucks Reserve Cold Brew 150 mg
Dunkin’ Donuts Cold Brew 174 mg
Barq’s 22 mg

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How Much Caffeine is Considered Safe to Drink?

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), many healthy adults can drink up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day without experiencing negative effects. So, you can satisfy your Barq’s root beer caffeine craving as long as you do so in moderation. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, and various medications and health conditions are not compatible with the stimulant.

Pregnant women and those who breastfeed are advised to speak with their physicians to determine if their caffeine intake should be reduced. Although the FDA has not developed guidelines for children drinking caffeinated beverages, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests young children should not regularly consume drinks with stimulants like caffeine.

Barq's Root Beer 20 oz Soda Bottle

The History of Barq’s Root Beer

The second half of the 1800s experienced a boom in commercial root beer brands. Edward Charles Edmond Barq Sr. first bottled and sold his eponymous drink in 1897. Not surprisingly, root beer sales spiked during Prohibition.

Barq’s was originally distributed in the South, where it was first produced in Mississippi and then later in Louisiana. By the 1990s, Coca-Cola owned Barq’s, and the beverage was available nationwide.

Why Is It Called Root Beer?

Recipes for root beer first appeared in the mid-1800s. The drink’s name was inspired by two of the original ingredients: licorice root and sarsaparilla root. Charles Elmer Hires is credited with creating the first commercial brand of the drink, Hires Root Beer. Hires originally wanted to name the drink “Root Tea.” But despite being a nonalcoholic drink, he settled on “Root Beer” in an effort to appeal to coal miners.

See also: 

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The original Barq’s root beer contains caffeine, but it’s less caffeinated than other soft drinks and popular iced coffee brands. If you enjoy the stimulant’s boost but want to limit your caffeine consumption, Barq’s is an excellent choice. It’s been produced for over 120 years, and the famous root beer is likely to remain an American favorite for many years.

Featured Image Credit: Mohamad Babayan, Unsplash


Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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