Rock N' Rye Pop - Gastro Obscura


Rock N' Rye Pop

A Prohibition-era flavor from a soda company beloved by Detroiters and Juggalos.

In 1907, two Russian immigrant brothers started the Faygo company (then the “Feigenson Brothers Bottling Works”) in Detroit, Michigan. Initially, they sold three soda, or “pop,” flavors, inspired by cake frosting. During the Prohibition era, they expanded into new varieties, including Rock N’ Rye.

The new drink may have been a cheeky homage to a suddenly illegal cocktail of the same name. The original “Rock & Rye” was a medicinal medley of rye whiskey, rock candy, citrus, and herbs. Faygo’s Rock N’ Rye, a light, vanilla-cream soda with a hit of semi-tart cherry flavor, had nothing in common with the cocktail—other than being a sugary liquid. Still, the nonalcoholic drink was a hit.

Even after advances in water filtration technology upped their pop’s longevity and allowed for shipping to distant destinations, Faygo remained a distinctly local phenomenon. One notable group of Faygo lovers: the Detroit-based “horrorcore” hip-hop group Insane Clown Posse. At every concert, the band sprays their fans—known as Juggalos—with bottles of soda in a ritual now known as “Faygo showers.” However, ICP uses only Faygo’s root beer, as the other flavors can corrode most venues’ electrical wiring.

How do Juggalos feel about Rock N’ Rye? When Thrillist enlisted three fans to rate all of Faygo’s flavors in 2017, the old-school soda earned 10/10.

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