If you spend any time in Michigan, you’ll learn that the fizzy sweet stuff in bottles and cans is called “pop.” It is not called “soda.” It is not “seltzer.” It is not “carbonated beverages.” And it is certainly not “cokes.”

Once you have that down, you will learn about Faygo and its role in Michigan’s pop culture. Bottled in the same section of Detroit since 1907, Faygo is an iconic brand.

“Faygo” comes from the last name of Perry and Ben Feigenson, Russian Jewish immigrants who started making pop after big brother Perry decided that he loved sleeping in more than running his Detroit bakery.

Ben and Perry began with three flavors: Fruit Punch, Grape and Strawberry, now called Redpop. The formulae came from Perry’s frosting recipes.

The Feigenson brothers started near the beginning of a global recession, undercutting Coca-Cola with 7-ounce bottles at 3 cents each. Faygo soon moved from a horse-drawn wagon to one of Detroit’s early trucks. Perry said, “We had a heck of a time when we used the horse for social purposes…because the horse kept stopping in front of every place where we normally made deliveries.”

Since the beginning, Faygo has offered “a rainbow of flavors.”

It still has the three originals and has won awards for its renditions of Orange and Root Beer. Other top pops you should try are Rock & Rye, Creme Soda, Black Cherry, Peach, Pineapple, 60/40, Cherry Cola and more than 40 more. Faygo bottles more than 50 flavors and historically has made more than 100.

You will not have to go out of your way to snag a Faygo in Michigan. It is sold at grocery chains and gas stations along almost any highway.

Joe Grimm is author of “The Faygo Book.”

These photos are used with the permission of the Feigenson Family Archives.

Author

As a student, Joe Grimm biked from the Detroit area to Mackinac Island for more bicycling on one of the only places in the United States that does not allow cars. Today, one of his favorite overnight Mackinac resting places is the Island House Hotel. Joe has also written two books about classic Michigan foods: “Coney Detroit” and “The Faygo Book,” coming out October 1. He is a journalism professor at Michigan State University.

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