A year and a half ago, Oscar Youd created his own root beer for his kindergarten science project. Today, the 7-year-old's experiment is sold in stores as microbrewed root beer Margo’s Bark, which he named after his rescue dog Margo, a friendly pit bull-Labrador mix who was found in a parking lot when she was just six weeks old.“Root beer is in our family history,” says Oscar's father, Tim, whose grandfather Vernon Lancaster, 93, used to brew homemade root beer on his Maryland farm. “Oscar loved the idea.”
After buying a root beer kit and making 120 bottles in their Hancock Park, Calif., home, they served it at Oscar’s science fair in 2008 — and it was a hit. “After that, we decided to make it commercially,” says Tim, who helps Oscar run Margo’s Bark Soda Co. with wife Jessica.Refining the soda's taste with the help of a food chemist, the root beer is produced in a brewery in Inyokern, Calif., and sold in specialty grocers in Los Angeles. Margo's Bark will also be on the shelves in Whole Foods in Southern California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii starting Aug. 1. So far, they’ve produced more than 680 cases for sale.
‘Why wait when you can help now?’“Oscar is learning a lot,” Tim says of his son, the third of five children. who enters second grade in the fall. In addition to designing the label, he’s learned practical business lessons.
“You can make something out of nothing but you need organizational skills and must follow through,” says Tim. Oscar is also learning to give back. Though the family has yet to turn a profit from their business, they've donated $2,000 to their favorite animal-rescue organizations, Bark Avenue Foundation in Los Angeles and The Brittany Foundation in Agua Dulce, Calif.
“The lesson for Oscar is philanthropy is important,” says Tim, noting that the family owns a second rescue dog, three cats and a rabbit. “Why wait when you can help now? There are plenty of dogs in need.”