14 Delicious Regional Sodas You’ve Got To Try Before You Die
Mike Pace spent almost ten years on the road with his band Oxford Collapse. In that time, he became a regional soda junkie. Here are his favorites from all the places he’s stopped across America.
Picture this: You’re on a road trip, far away from home. You keep passing signs for unfamiliar towns. Eventually you stop for gas, and while in the mom and pop convenience store you take a gander at the cold beverage selection. Sodas you’ve never heard of line the shelves, in flavors you didn’t even know existed! The quirky logos and color schemes bring out your inner child, so you grab as many cans and bottles as you can carry, eager to sample them all. Welcome to my world.
I’m a regional soda enthusiast; I like to try sodas that, due to provincial preference or business model, you can only get in certain corners of the country or world. A last-standing paeon to being territorial, these sodas represent a final shred of uniqueness in an increasingly universal, complacent world. Most of the Mom & Pop brands have folded, replaced by global corporations who bank on product familiarity. Seeing something different or unusual on the stores shelves is a rapidly disappearing novelty; soon enough we’ll all be drinking Coke Zero.
For posterity, I’ve compiled a list of some of the notable pops I’ve come across in my travels. This is not an exhaustive list, nor is it meant to highlight only the “local” guys; some bigger companies still all have regional brands, and they’re still totally exciting.
Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry/Root Beer
Manhattan Special Sarsaparilla
Barq’s Red Creme Soda
Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer
Ramblin’ Root Beer