A distinctive urban publisher since 1941

Wayne State University Press

0 items

The Faygo Book

Joe Grimm

Award Winner

Detroit, Food and Beverage

Painted Turtle

Published: October 2018
ISBN: 9780814345856
Pages: 88 Size: 8 x 10
Illustrations: 86 color illus.; 32 b&w illus.
Published: October 2018
ISBN: 9780814345863

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 neverending 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.

Published by: Painted Turtle

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.

Joe Grimm captures not only the history of Faygo but also the emotional connection Detroiters have with the brand. It’s as if we’ve been invited to a conversation with Feigenson family members. The Faygo Book is a wonderful inside look at one of Detroit’s most famous brands.

– Keith D. Wunderlich, author of Vernor’s Ginger Ale

Bubbly, refreshing, and fun, The Faygo Book is a loving look at the pop brand that helped define Detroit. Joe Grimm has created a nostalgic read that embraces the city’s history with this special drink, the family that created it, and the foodies that adore it. Long live Faygo and all of its fans.

– Karen Dybis, journalist and author of Better Made in Michigan: The Salty Story of Detroit’s Best Chip

Long missing from our local annals is a comprehensive origin story of one of its most enduring brands. Proof that we’ve always been a city where folks from all over the world come to realize their biggest dreams, Joe Grimm’s telling of the Faygo story is not only one of great American innovation but also that of never-say-die Detroit.

– Aaron Foley, author of How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass

When you think of quenching your thirst in Detroit, you think of Faygo, and when you think of Detroit’s best storytellers, you think of Joe Grimm. There isn’t a better writer to tell the story of the Motor City’s unofficial beverage. Joe Grimm and Faygo go together like ‘rock’ and ‘rye’!

– Dan Austin, founder of HistoricDetroit.org and author of Greetings from Detroit: Historic Postcards from the Motor City (Wayne State University Press, 2017)

The author delivers. . . . I don’t want to provide all the interesting tidbits in the book. Buy it.

– Ken Kish, Macomb Daily

  • 2018 Foreword INDIES Book Awards - Result: Finalist in the Regional category
  • 2019 Michigan Notable Book Award - Result: 1 of 20 selected annually
  • 2019 Midwest Book Awards - Result: Finalist in the Regional History category