Chug A Mug of Pug


Have you ever wondered why Mug Root Beer has a picture of a mean dog on its label? I know I have.

At first I thought maybe they meant it to be a pug dog and they don’t know what a pug looks like. Then it would be called Pug Mug Root Beer. That would make sense.

But the Mug Root Beer dog is a kind of a bulldog with a sneaky expression, like he’s just put knock-out drops in the mug of root beer he’s offering and you’ll wake up with your wallet missing or pressed into the life of a sailor on the seven seas.

Seems to me that earlier in time, Mug Root Beer was called Old-Fashioned Mug Root Beer and their ads featured guys whose handlebar mustaches had foam all over them slapping each other on the back and saying things like, “Just like Dad used to make!” or “Haven’t tasted root beer like this in years!” Back then the bottle just had a picture of a shaving mug on the label. Like, “I think I’ll just drink some of this root beer in Dad’s shaving mug, that’ll be great”

You European, Asian, African and South American readers may not even know what root beer is, so may I digress?

Root beer was invented by the early pioneers in the forests of the east. They wanted something tasty to drink that didn’t get them totally snockered, yet they had no kola nuts to grind up. They couldn’t mix up a nice Seven-Up either because all the lemons and limes grew far off in the Caribbean where the rum came from. Johnny Appleseed hadn’t come through yet so they couldn’t even squeeze a few barrels of cider. What was there? Roots! And plenty of them. After all, they were living in the forest.

Possibly knowing it was a deadly poison, a local Native American chief suggested they try sassafras root. “Hmmm, this is…different!”, remarked the pioneer farmer’s teenage daughter.

Have you ever noticed that if a teenaged girl thinks something is totally creepy but doesn’t want to hurt your feelings, she’ll say it’s “different”? As in, “oh yeah, Ralph…he’s, uh, different. ”

Root beer has a unique flavor, unlike any other drink in the world except for birch beer which is made from ground up bits of birch tree bark that grow right next to the sassafras plant. Birch beer, though, tastes a little more like that kind of paste teachers give to kindergarteners – they can eat it and it won’t kill them. Same with birch beer. You can drink it and it won’t kill you.

Root beer, though, actually could kill you or give you cancer or something if you drank enough of it. And those guys slapping each other on the back were all suffering from blindness and severe headaches although their colds were cured. All because Dad got distracted and poured in too much sassafras oil. Of course, later, after the government outlawed sassafras oil, the Betty Crockers over at Exxon whipped up a nice mix of petrochemical molecules that emulated sassafras in a general way – and most people didn’t even noticed they switched.

So maybe the mean dog is a nod to the origins of root beer. They couldn’t put a mean Native American on the label, after all – so how about a dog?

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2 thoughts on “Chug A Mug of Pug

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