Caruso's Legacy Robusto Root Beer
Caruso Root Beer is bottled by Black Bear Bottling Co., which has been owned by the Caruso family since 1961. Black Bear Bottling was started in 1920, with the Caruso family being the 3rd owners. The bottler gets its name from the original owner, Louis Patmont, who owned a bear cub that he raised in his back yard until the cub grew up and the city required him to get rid of the animal—which he then donated to the local zoo.
In 1961 Phil "Papa Bear" Caruso along with his father, uncle, and two brothers, purchased the Oak Creek, WI bottling plant. With no prior bottling experience, they worked together to make the company a success, and even purchased the 2 homes next to plant for the relatives to move in and all work at the business together!
The Caruso’s Legacy Robusto Root Beer was first produced in 1978, and was made to honor the legacy of Grandpa Caruso and his wife who came to America from Italy in 1961.
Black Bear Bottling Group, led by Pete Caruso, Sr., now produces some 20,000 cases of soda a day in its 130,000 square foot facility. The rights to Caruso’s Legacy Root Beer were sold to WIT Beverage Co. in 2010, of which Pete Caruso Sr. has part ownership.
From Facebook, oakcreekwi.org, and direct
correspondence with the WIT Beverage