Mmm... fizzy grape.
September 30, 2007 1:00 PM   Subscribe

Racist stereotype filter: Do African-Americans really prefer grape soda?

I've heard that African-Americans prefer grape (and other fruity type flavored) soft drinks. Is this true? Are there any statistics to back this up? If so, any explanations as to why? Is it specific to a certain region of the US? Is it biological? Do blacks from other countries also show a predilection for grape sodas? Someone explain this to me!

PS: I'm particularly curious since I also love grape/strawberry sodas, but I'm not African-American, and I seem to be one of the few people I know who likes them.
posted by papakwanz to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (70 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: damnit, that was supposed to be in "society & culture".
posted by papakwanz at 1:02 PM on September 30, 2007

All those "African-American" stereotype foods are delicious and I don't see why anyone would think that race has anything to do with food preference. Culture, on the other hand, has a lot to do with it. Generic (and therefore cheap) soda comes in many flavors, but in my experience only the orange and grape are drinkable. Could that have something to do with it?
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 1:08 PM on September 30, 2007

Dave Chappelle on the stereotype.
posted by null terminated at 1:08 PM on September 30, 2007

If watching Kenan and Kel has taught me anything it is that Kel loves Orange Soda. He is black, orange is fruity. Therefore thanks to the power of Nickeloden, I can conclude that this is in fact true.

I like Grape soda, but there are no local brands in NZ, so I have to rely on imported brands that some random stores seem to sell. The same is true of Dr Pepper. Do African Americans like Dr Pepper?
posted by sycophant at 1:13 PM on September 30, 2007

Go into any gas station or convenience store in a black neighborhood of Memphis, TN, and the fridge will be stocked with all manner of fruity soft drinks, with an emphasis on grape flavor. You will not find this in white neighborhoods either in Memphis or in other places I have lived such as Pasadena, CA or Park Slope, Brooklyn. I would assume that this supply is there to match demand.
posted by charlesv at 1:20 PM on September 30, 2007

Mod note: a few comments removed - if you have nothing to add except for biting sarcasm or more racial jokes, please take them to metatalk
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:21 PM on September 30, 2007

Chris Rock had a bit about "grape juice" vs. "grape drink." Most of the hacky BET comedians have a similar Kool-Aid bit.

If it's anything, it's probably more of an economical thing that took root, the way soul food is a remnant of slavery. People come to prefer things they're used to, and if they're used to artificial grape flavour, that's what they'll go for.
posted by Reggie Digest at 1:32 PM on September 30, 2007

I think it may have to do with the not-so-popular brand fruity sodas being popular. Like charlesv said, a gas station in a low income black neghborhood usually has more of these drinks.
posted by rancidchickn at 1:32 PM on September 30, 2007

(Well I'll be damned, it was Chapelle. Whatever.)
posted by Reggie Digest at 1:34 PM on September 30, 2007

At fast food place: Middle-aged black woman and her husband, both ordering combo meals, get asked what kind of drinks they want with their combos. Woman laughs loudly, looks at her husband, looks at the register biscuit, and says "look at me and look at him. What kind of soda do you think we want?" The couple are laughing, I am laughing, and I have never seen someone so awkwardly fill a glass with grape soda in my life.

I have no idea if the stereotype is true or not.
posted by hototogisu at 2:01 PM on September 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

Anecdotal evidence to back up the stereotype: My (white) friend purchased grape soda at a bodega in Brooklyn, and the (black) clerk remarked on the fact that he was "buying a black man's drink."

Does this prove anything? Of course not. But it's a data point.
posted by dersins at 2:02 PM on September 30, 2007

Grape and orange sodas are indeed more popular among African-Americans than whites in the United States. It's cultural.

Explanations for why these flavors became more popular is generally traced to the fact that generic fruity-flavored sodas are always cheaper than name-brand sodas. Familiarity is reinforced through church picnics and family reunions.

My lily-white self drank orange soda as a kid for the exact same reasons. Perhaps the bigger question is "why do white folks stop drinking grape and orange sodas." The answer to that question, in my experience, is that white folks are more eager to ditch the 'imitation' or 'bargain' drinks for name-brand sodas like Coke and Pepsi on principle, while black folks are not so worried about being seen drinking store-brand soda and are just enjoying the syrupy fizzy goodness for what it is.

/this has been a soda-centric explanation. Grape juice vs. grape drink, as described by Mr. Chappelle above, is a whole 'nother thing.
posted by desuetude at 2:04 PM on September 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

My (white) father grew up in the projects of New York City for the first 10 years of his life or so. His love of orange/grape soda was passed on to his kids.

I'm pretty sure it is an economic verging on cultural thing.
posted by Loto at 2:09 PM on September 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Second the comment by Reggie Digest. African Americans and poorer segments of the population in general have a taste for syrupy fruit flavored water based beverages: Kool Aid, Jungle Juice, Grape and Orange Sodas. Among Hispanic immigrant communities, including mine, these drinks are always popular, especially the carbonated varieties.

I think this is because these drinks are the cheapest to make. Real, natural 100% juice is expensive. Kool-Aid is ~ $0.10 a package, which is <>
Quesitons like this always make me want to start some sort of open-source marketing data warehouse. I'm sure Kool-Aid knows if African Americans like grape more than any other flavor.

I want to begin a movement that forces marketers to make public their data after, say, 10 years so questions like these can be answered and we can better understand the society in which we live, or drink. Just an idea.
posted by willie11 at 2:11 PM on September 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

I am white, and I love me some grape soda. The reason I don't drink it all the time - because they don't (to my knowledge) make diet grape soda.
posted by clh at 2:18 PM on September 30, 2007

My buddy Liam from college was closely acquainted with my addiction to Orange Crush. When he came back from National Guard boot camp he told me that I must have a black person in my ancestry because every black guy in his barracks drank orange soda.
posted by sciurus at 2:24 PM on September 30, 2007

Crush makes diet grape, orange, root beer, and cream soda. I don't know if Crush is just a Canadian brand though.
posted by arcticwoman at 2:31 PM on September 30, 2007

Previous MeFi thread: Why do black folks seem to always order red or orange soft drinks?
posted by ericb at 2:32 PM on September 30, 2007

While I grant many of the points above about generic brand sodas and access, I can't imagine that there is a race-based "taste" for grape or orange soda. In addition, if it is only about income, I wouldn't expect the new bourgeois sodas like Jones to come out with those flavors (given that African-Americans only make up about 10% of the US population). Perhaps it's just selective perception?

On a side note, this whole discussion makes me very thirsty for the McDonald's orange drink I used to get with my Happy Meals as a kid. What on earth was that stuff? And why doesn't anything else taste like it?
posted by B-squared at 2:32 PM on September 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

I don't know if Crush is just a Canadian brand though.

No. It is a North American brand of Cadbury Schweppes and is distributed by Pepsi bottlers.

Some of the many variants of "orange crush," though are distributed only in Canada (e.g. Crush Pineapple in Newfoundland, Labrador, and Fort McMurray, Alberta).
"The Crush brand and trademark are presently owned by Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages, who market the soft drink in cans and bottles chiefly in the southeastern United States, where it is sold in most supermarkets. Crush is also popular in Canada, where it is distributed by Cadbury Beverages Canada. Crush has the #1 Orange, Grape and Cream Soda in Canada, and still remains a Top 10 Brand. It is distributed by various Pepsi bottlers, the biggest being The Pepsi Bottling Group Canada."
posted by ericb at 2:39 PM on September 30, 2007

I'm black (albeit Canadian), and grape (and to a lesser extent orange) soda was one of those things that more or less no one I know drank past childhood. Granted, I did grow up middle-class and the drink of choice in our house was actual juice.

I always forget that there's such a thing as grape soda (even the name brand kind) unless I go to a discount supermarket in a low-income area. The economic distinction in Canada might be a little different, though, because there've generally been a variety of name-brand fruit-flavoured sodas, including grape and orange, available here.
posted by thisjax at 2:40 PM on September 30, 2007

"We found differences in beverage preferences based on race. African-American girls consumed more fruit drinks (defined as fruit-flavored beverages not containing fruit juice) than white girls..." *
posted by ericb at 2:47 PM on September 30, 2007

Is it biological? Uh, no. The majority of what people consider racial differences are [obviously] cultural differences.

I went to college in Vermont and I had a Mexican-American friend from Texas who was extremely excited to find that the local chain grocery store carried pineapple soda, which is, in fact, pretty friggin weird since it's usually only found in neighborhoods with a large Hispanic population. For some reason that region of Vermont, primarily comprised of lower middle class white people, had a demand for it.

People grow up drinking and eating things because of where they are from, and because of what the people around them are drinking and eating. It's not programmed into our DNA. As a black/Hispanic person, I don't have any sort of inherent urge to reach for fruity soda, though I grew up drinking the orange and fruit punch varieties.

Also, I've noticed that white girls seem to love Diet Coke. And that many Asian people eat soup for BREAKFAST. Why??? I have no idea, though I'm guessing it's not because of the color of their skin. But maybe I'm wrong and I should give it more thought.
posted by eunoia at 2:48 PM on September 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

they don't (to my knowledge) make diet grape soda.

Shasta and Faygo (both owned by National Beverage Corp.) each make a Diet Grape soda.
posted by ericb at 3:05 PM on September 30, 2007

Ooh, Shasta makes a Diet Grape? Gotta try that.

Yes, black Americans like those cheap, sweet drinks. Although I can't say if Orange or Grape is more preferred. I love them both so dearly. It's obviously cultural (and that inspired by economics), just like fried chicken in the South, or chitterlings. Cheap and tasty. Kool-Aid is still the drink of choice in my family. Preferably Grape or Cherry. And Orange. Tropical Punch on special occasions. Never Lime, God no.

I personally don't understand why anyone would take offense at pointing this stuff out. I think it's what makes humanity so fascinating, our vibrant cultures. Tonight I'm making ribs and we're drinking blue berry koolaid.
posted by Danila at 3:10 PM on September 30, 2007

I'm sorry, I meant to say chitlins.
posted by Danila at 3:12 PM on September 30, 2007

Shasta and Faygo (both owned by National Beverage Corp.) each make a Diet Grape soda.

Ah! Interesting, but not easy to find.
posted by clh at 3:21 PM on September 30, 2007

Having lived in Miami, I can vouch for the fact that Hispanics tend to purchase a lot of fruit-flavored soda based on the jaw-dropping amounts of shelf space dedicated to it in the grocery stores.

As far as black people's preferences, I always assumed it was a southern thing. I've found that my white southern relatives and acquaintances drink far more Kool-aid and grape/orange soda on average than any of the non-southerners I know.
posted by gatorae at 3:22 PM on September 30, 2007

a bit of a derail but on the same topic. i always wondered why in the US, cognac is heavily marketed towards African-Americans. in Europe it's considered a pretty upper class drink of choice. here though... let's just say that when i worked in a restaurant cognac was only ordered by black people - i still laugh when i remember making Henessey and coke, Courvoisier and pineapple juice and on one occasion a Remy Martini.
posted by barrakuda at 3:39 PM on September 30, 2007

As far as black people's preferences, I always assumed it was a southern thing.

I grew up in the South Lite (Southern Missouri).

I routinely observed people drinking all sorts of fruit-flavored sodas back home. Orange was certainly the favorite, although grape had a considerable showing.

I now live in Philadelphia. I find it interesting to note that much of what people frequently describe as "Black" in Philly could easily be applied to most people (of whatever color) back in Missouri. Even my name is apparently a "Black name" up here, while having no particular racial bias back home.
posted by Netzapper at 3:55 PM on September 30, 2007

s/observed people drinking/observed people, of a number of colors, drinking/
posted by Netzapper at 3:56 PM on September 30, 2007

According the the National Institute of Health, black children have the highest consumption of fruit drinks, but Mexican kids drink the most soft drinks.

Fanta Orange seems to be popular in Europe, but it is definitely found more often in black neighborhoods (along with Fanta Grape and Fanta Strawberry) in the U.S.

The mystery product to me is those little barrel shaped fruit drinks at grocery and convenience stores (using Memphis and Atlanta as my sample groups) in black neighborhoods. It seems like several different manufacturers produce them, but they're always barrel shaped. I could only find a producer of the one gallon size.
posted by Frank Grimes at 4:14 PM on September 30, 2007

Here in Dallas, you can nearly always find strawberry soda in the fountain at cheap Mexican places- Taco Cabana, Taco Bueno, maybe Taco Bell (I wouldn't know because I never go there if I can help it). Also pineapple soda. Seriously, check out the Jarritos flavor list- some serious fruity goodness going on there.
posted by MadamM at 4:20 PM on September 30, 2007

barrakuda: Your thread is here.

Just another observation about soda, I grew up not drinking any carbonated drinks. Because of that I can't handle drinking them now (they make my tongue and throat burn). If I'm ever trapped in a really thirsty situation with no (trustworthy) water/juice, I'll get grape or orange soda because the carbonation is milder, making it less painful to drink. So in addition to liking fruity sodas because they're familiar, people who are used to them may find other sodas too intense. Or it could just be me.
posted by anaelith at 4:22 PM on September 30, 2007

Another datapoint... the intro scene of Undercover Brother (note what he's holding).
posted by MegoSteve at 4:38 PM on September 30, 2007

I recall seeing Magic Johnson (black, I believe) talking about his Magic Johnson's movie theatres in my (mostly black) neighborhood in LA, and that his purpose was just to bring a regular movie theatre into a black neighborhood, except have lots of "flavors" because the black people "love flavors." He said it with a laugh, and the phrase has stuck with me for nigh on 15 years...
posted by largecorp at 4:44 PM on September 30, 2007

Fanta Orange in Europe is way better than Fanta Orange in the states. I think it's less sweet and more bitter. I love to pull off the Autostrada into an Autogrill and have a panino with an orange drink followed by a caffe espresso.

Following up on willie11's comment on Jungle Juice, as a little Jewish camper (and later as a counselor) we drank the stuff with every meal at MJCC Day Camp. Strangely, a google search for it brings up lots of links about booze but nothing to the juice I drank as a kid.
posted by charlesv at 4:51 PM on September 30, 2007

I find it interesting to note that much of what people frequently describe as "Black" in Philly could easily be applied to most people (of whatever color) back in Missouri.

Exactly - watermelon, collard greens, and fried chicken are "food" in Alabama, but "black food" up north. I think the whole fruit-flavored soda thing has the same stereotype.

charlesv, I've always thought that Bug Juice is the camper drink, but Jungle Juice is Kool Aid + Everclear.
posted by gatorae at 5:11 PM on September 30, 2007

As an official African American I can tell you the stuff was bought 'cause it was cheap. Mind you, we were middle class, but since us kids would go through food and drink like crazy, the parents just considered it smarter to buy a bunch of Kool Aid and a bag of sugar and call it a day.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:11 PM on September 30, 2007

I'm white, grew up in the Midwest, but my mother's family is Southern (and all white). I remember being offered grape soda on every visit to my Southern relatives.

Also, orange juice in little cans were popular.
posted by desjardins at 5:16 PM on September 30, 2007

There's cheap cola, and cheap sprite, too. It may be cultural, just as Italians eat pasta, Germans eat sauerkraut, French Canadians eat blood sausage, etc. I've had macaroni & cheese described as soul food, too. A lot of cultural food preferences are driven by available foods that are affordable, like beans & rice or sauerkraut or potatoes. Thinking of it as cultural may help transmute some of the OhMyGod, I think somebody has race-related food preferences into Gee, people have culture-related food preferences.
posted by theora55 at 5:24 PM on September 30, 2007

To add to the pile of anecdotal evidence pointing to yes-there-is-a-black-cultural-preference-for-grape-drinks, here's an mp3 of the Nu-Grape Twins, a black gospel duo from the 1920s who promoted a brand of grape soda. Perhaps part of the development of the grape trend can be tracede to regional soda varieties, and the particular soft drink brands popular in the south?
posted by bookish at 5:34 PM on September 30, 2007

In California where I live, upmarket supermarkets in predominantly white areas stock orange cream sodas, and I buy them every chance I get. Meanwhile, I shun Coke et al.

Not even a data point; I just find it surprising that something I find so enjoyable and that is promoted as an upmarket drink here is considered downmarket and less favorable than Coke et al to so many people here.
posted by davejay at 5:34 PM on September 30, 2007

Okay, that didn't work. Try this link.
posted by bookish at 5:35 PM on September 30, 2007

Also, speaking as someone who grew up in the south, I think that artificially flavored fruit drinks are found in communities despite of ethnicity.

It's an economic thing. Grape soda and juice is popular with southerners because until recently, we were poor and it was cheaper than the alternative, real juice. The same principle explains much of southern cuisine.

After moving above the Mason-Dixon line, I was surprised to find what I considered to be race-independent Southern Food, was called Soul Food in the north and associated almost entirely with blacks.

To me, it's just tasty.
posted by willie11 at 5:53 PM on September 30, 2007

Somewhat related data point, which speaks to the popularity of fruity sodas/quarter waters: In the early 90s, a widely circulated urban legend claimed that Tropical Fantasy sodas (a popular "urban" brand) contained sterilizing agents.
posted by veronica sawyer at 5:55 PM on September 30, 2007

Beverage entrepreneur press release backs this up.

To be successful in the soft drink business you have to have a good tasting product. Al-Fareed launched his product line with six flavors. “The flavors are: Moroccan Grape, Egyptian Orange, Nigerian Fruit Punch, Liberian Cola, Sudanese Pineapple Orange and Ivorian Pineapple. The fruit punch, grape and orange are some of the top flavors consumed by the African-American communities. So those are the top three and close behind are the Ivorian Pineapple that has a great appeal to the Latino and Hispanic community as well.

There was a 1960s book on the purchasing power of black Americans, called The $30 Billion Negro, by one D. Parke Gibson (himself black). [source]

Gibson pointed out that African Americans were spending over $30 billion on goods and services. The community consisted of over six million families. Approximately 40% owned their own homes, over 50% at least one car, and 75% one or more television sets....

Like virtually all ethnic or racial groups, the African American population exhibited certain purchasing patterns that substantiated Gibson's argument regarding the benefits to be realized by marketing to that population. Patterns ranged from spending more for food in supermarkets than White consumers to consuming 70% of the Maine sardines and about 50% of all the grape soda sold in the country.

Mind you, that's half the soda going to 11% of the population. Work that out as a per capita and you find that blacks are about nine times as likely to be drinking grape soda.
posted by dhartung at 7:41 PM on September 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

I always thought it was a Jamacain thing.
posted by Artw at 8:14 PM on September 30, 2007

No, African Americans do not prefer grape soda.

Some African Americans prefer grape soda.
posted by fuse theorem at 8:43 PM on September 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Gee, all we could afford was tea. Still love tea, no sugar of course.

Mama didn't think all that dye was good for us, she was pretty forward thinking back in the 60's.
posted by JujuB at 9:13 PM on September 30, 2007

When they weren't drinking alcohol, everybody in New Orleans, black and white, seemed to drink orange drink. But, I suspect, only because Dr. Nut was long out of business.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:01 PM on September 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

RC made about twenty different versions of Diet Rite in the early 90's--which I would stock up on my road trips to IL/IN from Iowa City. Canada Dry used to make a diet grape ginger ale too.

I'm white, liked artificial flavors better when I was a kid, not so much now. My uncle collects old soda bottles-- one of which blazes the fakeness, I guess it was made when it was something in which to take pride.
posted by brujita at 11:07 PM on September 30, 2007

A white friend of mine dates a black guy, and has discovered some new food by hanging out with him. She told me a quote from him: "if you go there and order pineapple soda with your BBQ, they'll know you're dating a black guy."
posted by salvia at 12:11 AM on October 1, 2007

Kinda not related, but here in China people love hot water. Seriously. It's a remedy for everything from a sore throat to upset stomach to headache to cold to whatever ails you. People straight up tell you to drink lots of hot water, even if you look tired. It's supposed to wake you up.

And paired with this is an tendency to avoid anything cold. Now, you don't find that everywhere, granted (beer is always sold with chunks of ice in it, which is wonderful during the summer, and there's always a freezer in most stores devoted to bottled water that's cranked as high as it goes, and dudes come in from the street, buy a bottle, and walk around with this ice cube in a shirt wrapped around the back of their neck), but for most drinks, cold don't cut it. During the summer at most convenience stores you can't get really, really cold drinks. Most places don't turn their refrigerators up very high. And in the fall/winter they just turn them off. Restaurants don't have refrigerators for anything but beer. You order a coke and they bring it warm.

I've gotta say, there's something to it. Boiling water actually does go down easier than ice-cold water, and it sits easier in my stomach. And it makes me kind of sleepy. And it feels a little better on a sore throat.

I've never known a single American, though, who could palate a warm soda and be satisfied with it. My girlfriend and I actually have little spats about this, where she brings a warm Pepsi into the car in blazing July heat and tells me it's healthy (she's a yoga teacher and full-on accredited new-age-TCM-frankenconsultant with opinions about health that just don't. make. any. sense. to me, like a ham sandwich with mayo is "junk food" and boiling water twice makes it undrinkable; she's very healthy, but christ!). I'm sure my digestion can handle a cold soda every now and then, thank you. And my mom ("health & wellness" professor, she is) says cold water is good for you, soda cures an upset stomach, and grape is healthier than Coke. Culture and food ARE interesting, and the variety of opinions and options are muy cool. So long as your relatives and loved ones don't make a living from it. :)
posted by saysthis at 1:02 AM on October 1, 2007

I've never known a single American, though, who could palate a warm soda and be satisfied with it.

I prefer warm sodas and have since I was kid. Cold soda and cold beer are taste killers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:41 AM on October 1, 2007

I've never known a single American, though, who could palate a warm soda and be satisfied with it.

Where I grew up (Texas,) warm Dr. Pepper is not that unusual. It is often called hot Dr. Pepper - Christopher Walken ordered one in the movie Blast from the Past.

Along with Brandon, I prefer my soda to be room temperature.
posted by bradth27 at 4:21 AM on October 1, 2007

I'm not clear on why it would be racist to say that black people tend to like a certain type of beverage. I definitely noticed a preference for red cream soda in my days working fast food and would assume it's a cultural thing. Certainly there were black folks who ordered other things, but the majority ordered red cream soda.

There's got to be marketing demographics either proving or disproving this.
posted by mattholomew at 5:48 AM on October 1, 2007

When I was a flight attendant I noticed that on the plane (where we didn't offer fruit-flavored sodas) black people seemed to prefer Sprite, non-Anglophone foreigners orange juice, young women Diet Coke, older women and British people tea, white people either Coke or water and dicks sparkling water "with lime".
posted by Jess the Mess at 6:53 AM on October 1, 2007 [3 favorites]

I think I wound up with my favorite being Orange Soda (drank through a red vine, natch) as a white trash kid because Coke got me too wired and was sorta bitter, and 7-Up seemed boring and sort of adult. Strawberry and Grape were good too, for sure.

When McDonalds stopped offering their special orange soda, around the same time they stopped offering tours of the kitchen for children's parties, I think, I was really insulted.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:16 AM on October 1, 2007

I grew up drinking Orange soda because it simply tasted better than Coke. I never "got" Coke...I just figured all beverages should be inspired by some kind of fruit, and Coke didn't cut it.
posted by reformedjerk at 9:37 AM on October 1, 2007

I always thought that this was a Southern thing, like how you can't get Nehi in the North. My black neighbors just had more Southern culture, but in the neighboring town sometimes jokingly called Ypsitucky, it's easy to find people of all races enjoying grape soda.

I prefer Jarritos, especially because they make awesome mixers.
posted by klangklangston at 11:53 AM on October 1, 2007

Explanations for why these flavors became more popular is generally traced to the fact that generic fruity-flavored sodas are always cheaper than name-brand sodas. Familiarity is reinforced through church picnics and family reunions.

I get how artificial grape/orange soda is cheaper than real grape/orange juice and/or namebrand cola, but is it really cheaper than the generic cola?
posted by juv3nal at 11:56 AM on October 1, 2007

juv3nal, the orange and grape soda costs the same as generic cola. But generic cola is nasty and only that one cousin's weird aunt likes it.

For those who cared about being seen drinking cheap soda: Coke and Pepsi and RC are "real" colas, the supermarket stuff is a lame knock-off. But the "name brand" version of orange and grape sodas are not nearly as popular, and thus the generic stuff isn't lame. (Source: my delusions of grandeur relatives.)

For those who don't care about what anyone thinks: You buy the generic cans of soda by the flat by flavor. No use in buying generic cola or lemon-lime, because everyone really wants the orange and grape. You're buying it because it's cheap -- may as well not waste your money on flavors no-one wants. (Source: the more practical neighbors from larger families who ran the community picnic who thought it was stupid to get uppity about soda of all things.)
posted by desuetude at 12:52 PM on October 1, 2007

I've noticed here in NC it is orange soda that is preferred by African Americans. I did grow up having orange crush occasionally myself but the soda of choice in my household was always a cola beverage of some sort.

It's a cultural thing, not a racial thing. There are a lot of cultural things shared by Southern whites and blacks, too, that are seen as simply black culture elsewhere. White southern people practically worship watermelon.
posted by konolia at 1:03 PM on October 1, 2007

I live in the UK in a part of the country that is almost exclusively white. The machine at work that dispenses free drinks has tea, coffee, hot chocolate, water (hot, cold, or sparkling) and a choice of fizzy or still orange drink. I have no idea why orange is included, but it is very popular. I doubt I could find a grape soda anywhere in the country though, but mostly because every 'purple' food is blackcurrant flavored rather than grape flavored.
posted by happyturtle at 4:08 PM on October 1, 2007

happyturtle - Corner stores in West Indian areas usually have a bunch of it, hence my earlier comment.
posted by Artw at 4:31 PM on October 1, 2007

Another official "black person" response. I grew up working class and we never, ever had either soda or "drink" in the house. My parents were very aware of the nutrional deficiences...I think it's more of a class thing than a culture thing. I've seen plenty of my poor white countrymen/women drinking grape soda ...and that other ubiquitous American delicacy of the poor, Dr. Pepper.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 10:41 PM on October 1, 2007

Living near the projects, i often noticed the black kids' tendency toward brightly colored soft drinks. orange soda, grape soda, blue pepsi, etc. I think it's cultural.
posted by JJ Jenkins at 2:35 PM on October 5, 2007

Soundtrack for this thread: "I Got Your Ice-Cold NuGrape," a charming track by the NuGrape Twins from 1926, courtesy of
posted by mumkin at 5:21 PM on February 25, 2008

Oh. I see now that bookish linked to it earlier. Well, her link is 404ing and mine works, so it's not a complete loss.
posted by mumkin at 5:27 PM on February 25, 2008

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