By Joe Grimm
The Faygo Book is the social history of a company that has forged a bond with a city and its residents for more than a century. The story of Faygo, Detroit’s beloved soda pop, begins over a hundred years ago with two Russian immigrant brothers who were looking to get out of the baking business. Starting with little more than pots, pails, hoses, and a one-horse wagon, Ben and Perry Feigenson reformulated cake frosting recipes into carbonated beverage recipes and launched their business in the middle of the 1907 global financial meltdown. It was an improbable idea. Through recessions and the Great Depression, wartime politics, the rise and fall of Detroit’s population, and the never-ending challenges to the industry, the Feigensons persisted. Out of more than forty bottlers in Detroit’s "pop alley," Faygo remained the last one standing.
Within the pages of The Faygo Book, author Joe Grimm carefully measures out the ingredients of a successful beverage company in spite of dicey economic times in a boom-and-bust town. Take a large cup of family—when the second generation of Feigensons gambled with the chance at national distribution while the odds were stacked against them—and add a pinch of innovation—not just with their rambunctious rainbow of flavors but with packaging and television advertising that infused Faygo with nostalgia. Mix in a quality product—award-winning classics (and some flops) that they insisted on calling "pop," despite the industry’s plea for a more grown-up name. Stir in a splash of loyalty to its locally hired employees, many of whom would stay with Faygo for decades. These are the values on which Faygo has hung its hat for generations, making it an integral part of communities across the country.
The Faygo Book is the story of a pop, a people, and a place. These stories and facts will tickle the taste buds and memories of Detroiters and Faygo lovers everywhere.
Joe Grimm wrote The Faygo Book after building up a tremendous thirst working on Coney Detroit with Katherine Yung (Wayne State University Press, 2012). A lifelong Detroit-area resident and twenty-five-year veteran of the Detroit Free Press, Grimm is a Michigan State University journalism professor. His favorite Faygo flavor is Rock & Rye.
Paperback, 136 pages, 86 color images, 36 b/w images
Dimensions: 8 x 10 x 0.4 inches