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Pop Culture: Faygo Goes Fancy

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By Martin Cizmar

Few sodas divide like Faygo. The Detroit soda is maligned by many because it’s cheap, super sweet and associated with Insane Clown Posse-loving Juggalos. On the other hand it’s beloved because it’s cheap, super sweet, and also associated with happy Midwestern childhoods spent riding bikes to the convenience store to pick up a three-liter of Moon Mist.

This week we gave five new premium flavors of Faygo a taste. That’s right, premium, baby. Faygo’s going uptown with their new Classic line of 100% cane sugar sodas in fancy glass bottles – priced at $1.29, they’re totally unsuitable for any purpose imagined by a Juggalo. The flavors, though, are retreads of Faygo classics like Red Pop and Vanilla Crème. Here’s what our team of tasters – two Midwestern transplants with fond memories of the stuff (Jay and I) and two poor souls not blessed with our wholesome, all-American upbringings (Peter and Jasmine) – thought of them.

All these sodas were purchased at Pop The Soda Shop in Scottsdale, which usually carries an impressive array of Faygo. You can also try AJ’s Fine Foods, or, if you want slightly more authentic experience, the Shell Speedmart at University and Alma School in Mesa.

Faygo Root Beer

Verdict: It’s no Sioux City Sarsaparilla, but it’s better than canned A&W.

“Zingy,” says Jasmine.

“Tastes like a Branch’s Root Beer Candy,” says Jay.

“Float Worthy,” says Peter.

Faygo Vanilla Crème

Verdict: Not good. Thin and not creamy, only a hint of (processed) Vanilla.

“It would be good with vodka,” says Peter.

“It’s like tonic water with a little bit of sugar in it,” says Jay.

Faygo Red Pop

Verdict: Fond memories improved! Super sweet, but still great. The cane sugar seems worth it here, as this bottle is better than original Red Pop, which is itself a solid soda.

“The flavor that made Faygo famous,” says Jay.

“It tastes like crushed up Sweet Tarts,” says Jasmine.

“I like Big Red,” says Peter.

Faygo Grape

Verdict: Subtle sweetness, not too fruity, beautiful color.

Jasmine: “I actually really like it… I don’t like grape soda, but that’s very good.”

Peter: “It’s like an Otter Pop, melted.”

Faygo Orange

Verdict: This one was somewhat compromised since the soda (somehow?) froze in the refrigerator, sitting next to the others, which didn’t freeze. I found the flavor a little boring, and not very crisp.

Jasmine: “I feel like my teeth are going to fall out.”

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