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One of the most polarizing regionalisms in the food and beverage category is the ongoing debate of soda vs. pop. Many passionate wars of words have sparked, thanks to this endless vernacular skirmish. We at Livinfresh decided to get to the bottom of the disagreement by performing our own comprehensive research. Of course, due to our undying Michigan pride, we knew going in that the correct term is pop! There are highly valid arguments that we believe put pop on top.

The phrases used for carbonated beverages are regional reflections, and perhaps the debates over the “right” term stem from allegiance to one’s geographical origins. Those who fall into the pop camp are generally from the Midwest and Northwest, although there are a few pockets in the Midwest that lean the other way. From around Green Bay to Milwaukee, there is a stray slant toward soda. University of Kentucky linguistics professor Dr. Jennifer Cramer explains such sections by saying, “Pockets like this can often be explained by things like migration or transportation routes.”

Explaining the Ongoing Soda Vs. Pop Debate

Soda’s Popularity

Soda’s prevalence is in the Southwest, Northeast and in pockets in between. Surprisingly, calling all carbonated beverages, regardless of brand, Coke is prevalent in southern states, which is where the famed Coca-Cola beverage company is based. No matter what side of the pop vs. soda debate one falls into, we can all agree that using Coke just seems wrong!

Now that we have delved into regional preferences, we must explore the origins of both designations. Soda stems from soda fountains that produced soda water. In 1863, New Haven, CT was the first US city to have a soda fountain, so this explains why soda is so deeply embedded in East Coasters’ vocabularies. The fizziness of soda water caused the word soda to be associated with carbonated soft drinks when they were later created.

Loyalty to Pop

We are steadfast in our loyalty to pop, as it just seems to be the jazzier of the two terms for a multitude of reasons. We owe thanks to British Poet Laureate Robert Southey for the superior descriptor. 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.” The poetic pedigree is impressive, and the fact that it is a palindrome lends to further coolness. The moniker pop is more evocative than its rival, and at just one syllable, it is faster to say!

Of course, our devotion to pop is associated with our allegiance to The Great Lakes State, and we respect those soda-shippers who will also defend their usage until the end. We should all embrace our love of state and country. We invite those of you with a case of incurable MI infatuation to showcase your pride with a selection from Livinfresh’s comprehensive line of fashion apparel that features attractive designs and phrasing that pays tribute to our fantastic home state.