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BARQ'S ROOT BEER TAKES A BITE OUT OF CALIFORNIA, THE COUNTRY'S LARGEST ROOT BEER MARKET

 NEW ORLEANS, June 1 /PRNewswire/ -- There's a feisty new drink in town that's ready to take a bite out of the country's largest root beer market. Barq's Inc. today announced it has begun distribution in California of its one-of-a-kind root beer, the ``one with bite'' that shatters root beer's mellow, old-fashioned, frothy image.
 The country's number two root beer and the only one with added caffeine and carbonation, but no foaming agents, Barq's has carved out a niche as the root beer that packs an extra punch. Barq's has grown 35 percent compounded annually since 1977, thanks in part to a well- earned reputation as the "little guy who does crazy stuff to get noticed," according to Rick Hill, Barq's vice president of national marketing.
 "With a .5 percent share of the general soft drink market and national advertising budgets of less than $4 million, we rely on outrageous promotions to attract and motivate consumers in ways that our more entrenched, better financed competitors wouldn't dare," said Hill.
 Barq's, now available in California's grocery and convenience stores as well as select vending machines, holds the number two position in the nation's $500 million root beer market and has already blown past Pepsi's Mug, Monarch Company's Dad's and Cadbury Schweppe's Hires. Their "A & Who" attitude demonstrates that Barq's is clearly not intimidated by California's hometown root beer A & W, which currently has a 40 percent hold on the state's root beer sales.
 In their typical fashion, Barq's plans to "tattoo" California this summer and give West Coasters their first taste of the "root beer with an attitude." From June through August, consumers will get a free "Barqtoo" removable tattoo with every 12-pack of regular and diet root beer. No beverage company has ever given consumers such a popular, high-value -- $3.99 retail -- premium with every purchase, according to Hill.
 "Today's consumers demand more for their money, and Barq's is the soft drink company they turn to for value-added promotions," Hill said.
 "When you add the value of the Barqtoos with the cents-off coupons also included in the promotion, you're practically getting paid to drink Barq's."
 Last year's wildly successful "Soviet Union Going Out of Business Sale," which was recently awarded the Promotional Marketing Association's 1992 Super Reggie, the nation's top consumer promotion award, is another typically outrageous Barq's promotion. The campaign was launched 10 days after the fall of the Soviet Union and offered consumers 800,000 pieces of authentic "Soviet Stuff," including znachki pins, postage stamps and commemorative ribbons.
 Barq's also has sponsored wacky events like MTV's Headbanger's Ball, and has made forays into the motion picture industry with a tie-in to last summer's innovative film "Cool World" and a Freddy Kreuger "Freddy's Dead" campaign.
 While it took Barq's nearly a century to "get ready" for the West Coast, the company recently negotiated state-wide distribution through California's leading bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises. A high-quality distribution operation can make or break a brand, according to Joe Corizzo, Barq's vice president of sales.
 "We have a great product, but if you work with a mediocre distribution system, you'll end up with mediocre results," Corizzo said. "We're working with the best."
 Barq's will support the introduction with special promotions, like this month's Barqtoos give-away, and national TV advertising including MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick-at-Nite and Comedy Central.
 Barq's was born in Biloxi, Miss., 95 years ago from Edward Barq's shattered dreams of cultivating champagne vineyards on the delta. Unable to fulfill that hope, he began brewing the root beer in tubs in his back yard. In 1976, two college buddies from Tulane University law school, John Oudt and John Koerner, bought the sleepy regional soft drink and propelled it to its position as the country's number two root beer.
 Barq's Inc. of New Orleans is available in 85 percent of the United States. Barq's Inc. also markets Barq's Diet Root Beer, Barq's Red Creme Soda, Barq's Diet Red Creme Soda, Barq's French Vanilla Creme Soda and Barq's Diet French Vanilla Creme Soda.
 -0- 6/1/93
 /CONTACT: Briggen Wrinkle of Marcy Monyek & Associates, 312-263-2135, for Barq's/


CO: Barq's Inc. ST: Louisiana, California IN: FOD SU:

SH -- NY041 -- 3898 06/01/93 11:22 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 1, 1993
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