In my last post, I celebrated a town called New Bern, North Carolina, famous for everything from its capitol building and governor’s palace to its fiberglass Bear Town Bears throughout town. But I saved something for this post, something that New Bern may actually be most famous for. That would be Pepsi.
A local pharmacist named Caleb Bradham invented a drink just before the turn of the 20th century. He called it “Brad’s Drink” (a name I personally prefer), but after 1898 it became marketed as Pepsi-Cola. So as you wander along Main Street in New Bern, you can stop into a Pepsi museum that doubles as a soda fountain. No Coke here. Just everything Pepsi. Pepsi t-shirts, Pepsi collectibles, Pepsi cans from Korea and Iraq and Turkey.
There’s even an original list of ingredients — a combination of spices, syrups and juices that formed the original concoction. The most interesting discovery there is that along with the likes of cinnamon oil, caramel, lime juice and nutmeg, the original Pepsi-Cola included a dash of alcohol. Go figure.
I bring this up because I came across a map not long ago that reinforces the notion that some places are proudly identified with some brands. In fact, for every state in the union, this map (created by a fellow named Steve Lovelace) identifies the most famous brand associated with the place. So Washington isn’t Washington. It’s Starbucks. And Oregon is Nike. And Pennsylvania is Hershey’s. And Tennessee is FedEx. And Florida? Well, that would be Hooters.
You can check out the full map here:
Meanwhile, this information is relevant to road-trippers because in some of these places these brands are offered as tourist destinations, even if it’s not THE brand that Lovelace chose for the state. My RV journeys have taken me to, for instance, the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, California. And the Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Waterbury, Vermont. And the Louisville Slugger Factory in, well, Louisville.
As for North Carolina, apparently Bank of America got the nod over Pepsi on Lovelace’s map. But Georgia is Coca-Cola. And Texas is Dr. Pepper. And Colorado is Coors. So there’s plenty to go around.