A Short History of Dandelion and Burdock

Dandelion and Burdock is a traditional English soft drink. This alcohol free drink is the cousin of the American equivalent, root beer. This popular drink is made by many soft drinks companies and is sold in both bottled and canned varieties. Here is an overview of the history of Dandelion and Burdock.


Dandelion and Burdock has a surprisingly long history with the earliest record of the drink being made and drunk as early as 1265. Taking a walk on a country road one day, Saint Thomas Aquinas prayed to God asking him for inspiration. He made a drink from the first plants that he found. It just so happened that these plants were dandelion and burdock, so the soft drink was born. However, the drink was likely to have been very much different to the drink that people today know as Dandelion and Burdock. It may not have been as sweet as refined sugars wouldn’t have been used. If any sweetening substances were used at all, these were more likely to have been honey or fruit sugars. It is also possible that the Dandelion and Burdock of the time would contain alcohol due to the way in which it was brewed.

Ben Shaw’s

It wasn’t until 1898 that Dandelion became closer to the drink that people now know. Ben Shaw’s was founded in 1871 and they began to create lots of popular soft drinks that are still drunk today. Also around this time, carbonated drinks became popular and there was an increase in the manufacture of this type of soft drink. Ben Shaw’s began to make Dandelion and Burdock in 1898 and this means that they are the longest producer of this particular strong drink. They were also the first soft drink manufacturer to sell their drinks canned and this included Dandelion and Burdock. This move toward soft drinks as they are now known took place in 1959 and meant that people could have individual servings of the drink instead of sharing a larger bottle.

A Depleting Market

Although Dandelion and Burdock is still a popular soft drink today, its popularity has fallen somewhat to the wayside due to drinks, such as Coca-Cola, that are international favorites.  However, Dandelion and Burdock continues to be manufactured by many well-known soft drinks companies, such as Ben Shaw’s and Barr’s, as well as being found in the major supermarkets. Also, many boutique drinks companies make their own versions of this traditional English drink.