Tell Me Your State and I’ll Tell You What You Call Carbonated Sugar Water
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.
Here’s the map of soda vs. pop vs. coke.
Click to enlarge for general overview.
You agree with this assessment?
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?
I’ll never forget moving from Illinois where it was pop to Southern Indiana where everything was coke-no 7 up, it was coke. My friends didn’t know what I was talking about when I said pop. My husband says you would order a coke and the waiter would say what kind? Then if you wanted sprite you’d say sprite. That was in Chicago.
@Bulbous: well, the survey map says your husband is a big gas bag!
For me it was always soda. The British call it “soft drink”.
Gretchens last blog post..Secret Lemonade Drinker.
Well I grew up in a pop state (Ohio) moved to a soda state (NY) and back in a pop state but it doesn’t matter to me in the least. I don’t buy it, don’t drink it, and don’t have it my house. Hell even raised my kids with NO soda/pop.
Elaines last blog post..Dismal Friday Numbers
@Gretchen: You lead such a sheltered life.
@Elaine: We never had pop in our house growing up – it was a “company only” treat. When I got old enough to have my own money, it was jump off the school bus and get a giant bottle of pop – Coke.
i will soon be 90 years old, grew up in Michigan and went to Michigan State. “Back in the olden days” we always said “coke”. Never heard of “pop!” And we went to our favorite soda fountain in a drugstore to order many flavors of coke…lemon coke, cinnamon coke, cherry coke, chocolate coke, made by a squirt into a regular coke glass if you didn’t want just a plain coke. A real gathering place after school.
90! How awesome! and you’re reading and commenting on blogs: my hero!