Why do Southerners call soda Coke?

There just might be a simple explanation.

If you’re from the South, there’s only one name used to refer to a nice cold, sweet carbonated beverage. And it’s Coke. The natural question that springs from that statement of fact is this: Why do Southerners call all soda Coke?

Well, the “why” may not matter much down here; that’s just the way things are done. Now our neighbors to the North and West may have some ideas about *other* names, but there are reasons it’s called Coke in the South.


To start with, Coke was born and raised in the South. It was developed by Atlanta pharmacist Dr. John S. Pemberton in 1886.

If you don’t know the background to one of the world’s most popular sodas, here are six things you may not have known.

6 things you may not have known about Coca-Cola

Coke became a generic way to refer to soda in the South. It may be because of the availability, the proximity, or just the popularity, but it’s not really clear how or when it took off.

However, in 1941, Coca-Cola made the decision to embrace the name Coke and trademarked it a few years later.

Now, the names are interchangeable.

Is soda Coke or is Coke soda?

Both … depending on where you live.

It’s gotten to the point that folks have started doing dialectic mapping based on what people call the beverage.

Southerners call soda Coke.

So basically, the entire Southeast and Texas falls into the Coke tribe.

Just remember, if we offer you a Coke when you’re visiting, the follow-up question may well be, “What kind ya want?”

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Post expires at 12:16pm on Monday February 24th, 2020