Fledgling Faygo business

Faygo_EvanEricksonWhether one calls it soda or pop, there are myriad forms of the sickly sweet syrup, and in Alaska some of the most popular soft drinks never see the light of day.

Several months ago flyers started cropping up around campus reading, “Faygo sodas from Detroit get yours now from Flight Deck Pizza.” But what is so special about Faygo, other than its close association with the Insane Clown Posse?

Faygo, short for Feigenson, the namesake of two Russian immigrant brothers, was formed as the Feigenson Brothers Bottling Works in Detroit, Mich., in 1907. Moe than 100 years later, Faygo is still bottled in Detroit, though in 1987 it was sold to the National Beverage Corporation, owners of Shasta.

In addition to collectibles, there appears to be a healthy online demand for small shipments of Faygo to parts of the country where it is not readily available, replaced with other “generic” brands.

In Anchorage, Flight Deck Pizza responded that Faygo is no longer being sold after a man named Chuck  had been let go from the popular bar and restaurant.

It turns out Chuck is a long-time friend of several other Alaskans hoping to satisfy a niche demand for Faygo in Alaska, even with exorbitant shipping costs resulting in massive markups.

Jennifer Haynes, who runs the Ebony and Ivory Convenience Store in downtown Fairbanks, claims to have gained 30 new customers since she began selling Faygo cans and bottles last August, priced at $2.75 and $5.25 respectively.

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“We heard about it from one of our customers in an apartment building across the street,” Haynes said.

Haynes thinks the customers willing to pay the steep prices have probably lived in the Midwest or somewhere where Faygo abounds, but also has noticed its popularity among Fairbanks cab drivers and as a mixer with vodka.

Faygo’s strawberry-like flagship flavor “Red Pop” is the most popular, but “Rock & Rye,” “Peach!” and “Cola!” have also sold well at Ebony and Ivory.

Her supplier, who didn’t care to be named, claims to have sold 9,500 Faygos in the state, with buyers as distant as Barrow and Kodiak. The supplier was able to find somebody to ship Faygo to Alaska by posting on Craigslist Detroit and claims to have 23 of 60 flavors readily available.

Closer to Anchorage, the Bargain Discount Store in Chugiak has begun offering a limited selection of Faygo cans at $2.99 each.

Jon Fardig, who has connections to the Fairbanks Faygo contingent, showed up at the store on a Thursday afternoon with a custom-made “Faygo fridge,” a mini fridge covered in Faygo boxes wrapped in clear tape.

Fardig got turned on to Faygo while attending Ozzfest in 2002 and has wanted to play a part in bringing Faygo to Alaska ever since.

Jane Thomas, who runs the Bargain Discount Store during the week, said that in the last week her supplier has found a way to receive Faygo in much larger quantities.

Jon and Jane both mentioned Faygo’s connection to hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse, alleging that ICP refuses to play in Alaska due to the unavailability of Faygo, which it sprays over its audiences. Fans of the group, or Juggalos, have also been known to voluntarily shower themselves in the beverages.

On the track “Fearless,” ICP raps “I’ll go to Alaska, b— slap a polar bear and take its food.”

It is clear that for Faygo to become widespread in Alaska, larger distributors like the Odom Corporation will need to recognize a statewide demand, but for those seeking childhood nostalgia or Juggalo lifestyles, Faygo can be had for a price.

 [Kierra Ha1]Last name? I can’t get this information.