Sunday, September 12, 2021

Weber's Root Beer and Hamburger

Way back in 1891, Oscar Weber Bilby started making his own root beer on his farm in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Oscar and his wife Fanny moved to Oklahoma from Missouri to a 640-acre farm just north of Sapulpa to an area now known as Bowden, Oklahoma in 1884.

Oscar was a farmer but he enjoyed experimenting with different soft drink condiments. Through trial and error, he combined roots and barks and some 14 secret ingredients before stored and aged in birch bark barrels. The creation of sweet soda pop was for his family to enjoy.

His famous Weber's Superior Root beer was then served at the peak of the flavoring cycle. Oscar used yeast to carbonate his root beer. The syrup concentrate for the root beer is made from scratch in a 55-gallon drum every few days. One gallon of concentrate is then made into a 30-gallon barrel of root beer syrup. From the 30 gallons of syrup, about 300 gallons of root beer is produced.

Weber’s Root Beer is still made entirely by hand in Tulsa by the keeper of the secret recipe. That recipe for Web's root beer has been passed from generation to generation.

On the fourth of July, 1891, Oscar probably made his most significant contribution to society when the first real hamburger was made in his home. He then served them (along with Weber's Superior Root beer) to more than 100 people who were the Bilbys' friends and family. Oscar continued this 4th of July tradition every year for the rest of his life.

His hamburgers and root beer were the hit of the community. Decades of encouragement later, Oscar’s son, Leo Bilby actually started the root beer company back in 1933, selling it from a drive-through window in Tulsa's Brookside district and the tradition was continued by Harold Bilby.
Weber's Root Beer and Hamburger

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