Faygo is best known for its signature "Redpop
" flavor, a yummy strawberry cream soda. In Michigan
, and Indiana
, Faygo is a dominant player in the soda industry, holding a 12% local market share on sales of $100 million a year.
The Faygo soda company was started by two Detroit immigrant Russian bakers named Ben and Perry Feigenson. In 1907 they turned their baking skills to the soda industry and started the Feigenson Brothers Bottling Works. During their baking days, they were accustomed to preparing fruit
frostings and they used these recipes in their sodas, giving their pop a unique taste and selling point. Their original flavors were Fruit Punch, Strawberry
The Feigenson brothers found selling pop during Michigan winters hard going and they returned to baking during the winter months (which is basically September
to May in Michigan).
In the 30s they changed their company name to "Faygo" and added such exotic flavors as Rock & Rye (which for a time became a traditional beverage Detroit deli owners served up along side their corned beef sandwiches
), root beer (how could I forget) and Vanilla
(yeah like seven decades before Coke!). Harkening back to their days as bakers, they adapted an angel food cake
recipe and created a soda from that. In 1935 they moved to their current Detroit location. There they cooked up their orange soda (made from aged orange juice) which today is nearly as popular as their Redpop.
In the late '40s and '50s Faygo took to advertising on Detroit television. They created their famous "Faygo Kid" mascot
. Much like how "Where's the beef?
" or "Wazzup" entered the popular lexicon, hip Detroiters would echo the line "Which way did he go? Which way did he go? He went for FAAAAAAYGO!"
Sensing the Faygo Kid was getting a little stale, they introduced another mascot called Herkimer the bottle blower. Much like the house wife in the "Calgon, take me away
" commercial, Herkimer proclaimed he was "too pooped to participate". However a swig of Faygo pop quickly changed his mind.
In the 60s, Faygo's top selling strawberry soda was renamed "Redpop". Always the pioneers, Faygo predicted the rise of the "premium brand with faux European cachet" phenomenon (i.e., Häagen-Dazs
). They released euro-sounding brands like Faygo Brau and Chateaux Faygeaux.
In the '70s, Faygo was the first bottler to introduce the twist-off cap and they experimented with warehouse distribution that was later adopted by the Pop Shoppe
. In the '70s, Faygo stormed the airwaves again with a TV commercial featuring the catchy "Faygo Boat Song". The commercial's theme actually went to #3 on the pop charts and sold 75,000 45 rpm
In the '70s Faygo had a bit of a financial set back when Michigan passed its glass bottle returnable
law. Faygo had not budgeted for machines to wash returnables and they took a bit of a financial hit.
In the '90s, with soda sales lagging to non-carbonated drinks like Snapple
, Faygo introduced a line of fruit drinks called "Ohana
The Insane Clown Posse
tie in comes not only from the fact they're Detroit natives, but Bozo the Clown
was produced in Detroit
. Bozo gave away bottles of Faygo Redpop as prizes.