When Los Angeles kindergartener Oscar Youd presented his science project demonstrating how yeast and sugar can create carbonation — little did he know it would lead to a successful root beer company that helps shelter dogs.
Oscar came home from school one day with a flyer announcing the project that was supposed to be age appropriate and involve the family. His parents Jessica and Tim put on their thinking caps, which led to ordering a root beer-making kit online, bottling the concoction that was well-received at the science fair with lots of “oohs and ahs” and “you should sell this” — and the rest is root beer history.
The Youds took a trip to Galco’s Soda Pop Stop in East L.A. and purchased every root beer under the sun — which is how they developed and perfected their brew, an all-natural blend of carbonated spring water, pure cane sugar, molasses, vanilla, herbs and spices.
They decided to name it after the family dog Margo, a black Lab/pit bull mix that was abandoned in a Long Beach parking lot and later adopted by the Youds. A family of dog lovers that was well aware of the situation at shelters, the goal was to make Margo’s Bark Soda Co. a philanthropic enterprise with 100 percent of the profits going to help shelter and rescue dogs.
The bottled product, microbrewed a couple of hours north of Los Angeles, was launched in 2009 — and today, Margo’s Bark can be found on the shelves of LA area markets including Bevmo, and Whole Foods throughout Southern California, Nevada, Arizona and even Hawaii. It’s also sold at LA eateries, with new additions like House on Beverly and Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City. The Let’s Be Frank gourmet hot dog truck and Hollywood’s Frosted Cupcakery have also recently joined the Margo’s Bark bandwagon.
According to Tim, the list is growing, with some of their best sales coming out of a number of Whole Foods locations in the San Fernando Valley, plus the root beer and promotional merchandise can also be ordered from their website.
“The number of cool restaurants and markets that have sought us out for inclusion on their menus has been a real happy surprise,” Tim says. “People try us because of our cause, and keep coming back because of the taste.”
They also boast a lot of non root beer-loving converts, who appreciate the sweet, mild flavor; and the Youds continue to attend adoptions and other rescue-related events as vendors, spreading the word about their delicious beverage, while at the same time encouraging people to adopt.
“It’s a great feeling to help shelter pets,” says Tim, who reports the company has raised over $20,000 in profits.
Margo’s Bark will sell $2 root beer floats to benefit The Brittany Foundation at the “Pit Stops: Crossing the Country with Loren the Rescue Bully” book signing, Kriser’s All-Natural Pet Foods/Studio City, Sat., March 26 from 1-4 p.m.