A&W made what seems to be a somewhat desperate attempt this week to remind people they still exist. In case you missed the news, see the company's out-of-nowhere Tweet about their mascot now wearing pants. Three things about this come to mind... 1) I completely forgot the company had a mascot 2) I never realized Rooty the Great Root Bear didn't wear pants, and 3) who cares if he does or doesn't?

People are seriously upset about cartoon mascots?

The announcement seems to come on the heels of the Green M&M "scandal", where apparently some people are mad about the Mars Company desexualizing the green-colored M&M mascot. The hubbub about a candy spokes-toon now wearing sneakers instead of thigh-high boots has led the company to temporarily pause their candy mascots and replace them with Mya Rudolph as brand spokesperson. All leading up to what is surely a brilliant Super Bowl ad.

Photo Illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Photo Illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images


Let's get back to A&W.

The small town where I grew up had a drive-in A&W and it was the highlight of my childhood week when my parents would occasionally take us there after church service. Listening to the pastor drone on for what seemed like hours, I would dream about those cheeseburgers and a giant frosty mug of rootbeer float.  According to A&W's media fact sheet, the company is growing.

A&W Restaurants, one of the country’s best-known and most beloved quick service brands, is experiencing a dramatic resurgence as more Americans discover – or rediscover – its famous Root Beer and high quality All American Food® favorites. Based on the original 1919 recipe, A&W’s signature Root Beer is made fresh in each restaurant with real cane sugar, water and a proprietary blend of herbs, bark, spices and berries, and served in a frosty mug.

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Only a handful of A&W's can be found in Montana.

Many of the A&W's in the US are now found at truckstops and travel plazas. Some are co-branded with another fast-food chain in the same location, like KFC. In Montana, there are currently seven A&W Restaurants. Here's where to find them:

  • Bozeman
  • Whitehall
  • Columbia Falls
  • Great Falls
  • Butte
  • Missoula
  • Hamilton

The last A&W in Billings closed some time ago (it was at the Lockwood truck stop). Do you think we'll ever get another A&W franchise in Billings? I'd certainly go for a Papa Burger and a frosty float.

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