Faygo is one of the strangest oddities of the soda world, perhaps because it’s one of the few sodas that has its own subculture based around it.
This peculiar soda got an early start in 1907. Two baker brothers, Ben and Perry Feigenson, had the idea to turn their cake frosting recipes into sodas. They started out with just three flavors: grape, strawberry, and fruit punch. The first batch of sodas was made in a small bottling plant in Detroit, Michigan, and they were sold off of the back of a horse cart. The sodas proved popular, and their company quickly grew into a local sensation. By the 1950s, they had re-worked the formula to give it a longer lasting shelf life, allowing Faygo to be sold across America.
It’s not unusual that the soda has such a lengthy history: Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi-Cola were all inventions of the late 19th century, and soft drinks and colas were already making a foothold in the world even before that.
Compared to those less regional brands, Faygo is well-known for being both tasty and inexpensive. Though it’s not as complex as some of the more obscure, locally-bound expensive bottled sodas, it’s leaps and bounds ahead of store-brands, which taste decent for about an hour at the most before they go unimpressively flat.
It’s because of its cheapness that the hip hop duo Insane Clown Posse was keen to adopt it as their trademark, as they were too poor in their youth to afford any other brand of soda. The “Juggalos”, the term given to the most devoted of ICP fans, have turned the soda pop into a symbol as prominent as their black-and-white face paint. There are contradictory stories as for why the ICP chose Faygo as one of their trademarks, but they have been referencing Faygo in their music ever since their debut album, and there’s certainly no end in sight for their love of the drink.
Despite the group and its fanbase’s full-hearted endorsement, Faygo Beverages, Inc. wants very little to do with them. The company brands its product as a family soda, so it doesn’t have a lot to gain from associating itself with a group that’s labelled by the FBI as a gang. Although the presence of the Insane Clown Posse has turned Faygo into a minor cultural trend, Faygo itself prefers to stick by its tried-and-true marketing strategy – one that doesn’t involve insane clowns.
With this in mind, Faygo is a very region-contained soda that doesn’t have much interest in expanding outwards. Its distribution is sporadic; even though it hails from the Midwest, it can still get hair-pullingly hard to find it in nearby states.
Today we’ll be reviewing the three different varieties of Faygo that we could find: Rock & Rye, Old Fashioned Root Beer, and Ginger Ale. These are some of the more prominent flavors of Faygo available, and some of the most decorated. We looked forward to seeing if these sodas would live up to their hype. (more…)