Everyone from Michigan has gone through this. You head out east on vacation or business, eating at a restaurant you ask the waitress about the kind of pop they serve. The waitress chomping on her gum stares at you blankly and with contempt asks, “Oh you mean so-da?”
Next time you’re out of town you happen to be down South. Finding yourself in the same situation you ask for a soda. The waitress whose middle name is “Ann” and prominently displayed on her name tag gives you the same blank stare. Sharing Becky (or Susan) Ann’s confusion, you ask for a pop, to which she replies, “Oh you mean a coke?”
“I need to lay off the caffine can I have sprite?” you ask.
“Sure thing sugar,” she replies before yelling back to the kitchen, “ONE SPRITE FLAVORED COKE PLEASE.”
So for those who have some traveling left this summer here is a map of the United States broken down by region, and what they call their carbonated beverages.
As you can see most of the country calls it “pop”.
Soda gets it’s name from the sodium carbonate used to give it the bubbles. Pop, like most things on this site has more of a fuzzy history. The “legend” varies a bit from source to source, but they all have to do with the sound it makes when opened (whether it be bottle top or a cork in the old days).
One thing that remains a mystery is why each region calls it “Pop” “Soda” and “Coke” and why we’re all so passionate and uppity about it.