Anyone from Michigan can tell you two things about carbonated beverages. First, it’s not “soda,” it’s pop. Second, the only pop worth consuming is Faygo.
Founded and headquartered in Detroit, Faygo has been sating soft drink cravings in and around Michigan for over 100 years. While the rest of the world knows of the brand thanks to its importance in the storied culture of the Juggalos, I and the rest of my Michigander brethren simply know it as the drink of choice when hitting up the local party store or Meijer.
You’re probably wondering, “Alright, but what exactly makes Faygo so amazing?” Some people would tell you it’s the brand’s root beer, which was voted the best tasting American root beer by Bon Appetit magazine in 2009. However, I believe the secret to Faygo’s magic rests in two very unique flavors in their repertoire: Redpop and Rock & Rye. Technically they’re just a strawberry soda and a dark creme soda, respectively, but by removing any hint to their flavor from their titles Faygo has left the true tastes of the beverages up to the consumers.
Seriously, try to convince a Michigander that Redpop tastes like anything other than “red” or that Rock & Rye isn’t a completely unique flavor. Them’s fightin’ words.
There’s also a good explanation for why Faygo hasn’t attained global popularity despite its general awesomeness – until the late 1950s, Faygo was only marketed in the Metro Detroit area due to the limited shelf life of its ingredients. Chemists eventually came along and fixed that problem, but by that point Coca Cola and Pepsi were already prepping to sell their products to the whole damn world.
However, Faygo makes up for its lack of widespread recognition with a devoted population of local fans who can claim it as their unofficial state drink, which is nice for us Michiganders who have nothing going for us except for the largest supply of fresh water in the world. Although it certainly would be nice if we didn’t have to share with the Juggalos.
Interested in trying some of Michigan’s signature pop for yourself? You can find your nearest Faygo retailer online, or book a trip to the Mitten and locate the stuff on almost any store’s shelves.
And for those of you looking to spice up your Faygo experience a bit, try this little trick I learned as a rebellious teen growing up in the Great Lakes State: pour out half a bottle of your choice of Faygo flavor and refill the empty portion with vodka, then dump a packet of Kool-Aid powder into the mix. The result is something like mixing vinegar with baking soda in that the concoction will suddenly explode in your face, forcing you to drink a large amount of barely detectable liquor extremely quickly. It was all the rage at concerts or before high school dances.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go rethink several aspects of my youth and hopefully pinpoint where it all went wrong.