I moved from Pop a state to a Coke state, never lived in a Soda state. Yet since Coke is so dominant in the restaurant biz, fast-food or other, it not really a problem to ask for Coke in Kentucky because 99 out of 100 times, they don’t serve Pepsi. (Ask Nancy, the High Priestess of Pepsidom.)
I grew up in Michigan and as you can see it is thoroughly “pop.” “let’s go for a bottle of pop” “get me a pop, will ya?” “You want some pop?” Yeah, pop, definitely pop. Pop in Michigan would include Vernor’s Ginger Ale, which back in the day wasn’t available nationwide. I recall having to tote a case of Vernor’s to Seattle during the World’s Fair so my Dad could park in a former Michigander’s driveway.
And just up the road a piece is the home of Ale 8 1 that comes in a six pack.
If you want a county-by-county analysis, click here, and then write in fifty words or less why you care.
- coke: this generic term for soft drinks predominates throughout the South, New Mexico, central Indiana and in a few other single counties in Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. ‘Coke’ obviously derives from Coca-Cola, the brand-name of the soft drink originally manufactured in Atlanta (which explains its use as a generic term for all soft drinks in the South).
- pop: dominates the Northwest, Great Plains and Midwest. The world ‘pop’ was introduced by Robert Southey, the British Poet Laureate (1774-1843), to whom we also owe the word ‘autobiography’, among others. In 1812, he wrote: A new manufactory of a nectar, between soda-water and ginger-beer, and called pop, because ‘pop goes the cork’ when it is drawn. Even though it was introduced by a Poet Laureate, the term ‘pop’ is considered unsophisticated by some, because it is onomatopaeic.
- soda: prevalent in the Northeast, greater Miami, the area in Missouri and Illinois surrounding St Louis and parts of northern California. ‘Soda’ derives from ‘soda-water’ (also called club soda, carbonated or sparkling water or seltzer). It’s produced by dissolving carbon dioxide gas in plain water, a procedure developed by Joseph Priestly in the latter half of the 18th century. The fizziness of soda-water caused the term ‘soda’ to be associated with later, similarly carbonated soft drinks.
What sayeth the international readers? What do you call the brown carbonated sugar water?