Serious Eats is really doing it for me today, in the most researchy way possible.
The above map shows what people throughout the US call carbonated soft drinks. The main categories are "pop" (blue), "Coke" (red), "soda" (yellow/olive green) and "other" (light green plus dark purple for regions with no data).
It looks like I live squarely in sodaland, though growing up, I always called CSDs "Coke" ("CSD" is industry parlance, BTW). When a new family from Chicago moved into my parents' neighborhood, we spent years mocking them (gently) for calling Coke "pop". Because that's what kids do, apparently. Make fun of the new neighbors.
I'm not surprised by the broad findings here - that Coke is a southern phenomenon (stemming from Atlanta, I'd guess) and that pop is largely mid and northwestern. What I find fascinating are the little pockets of complete departure from the norm. North Carolina is all over the place, with tons of "other" names for the product. Out west, where sodaland meets pop country, there are a couple of Coke-dominated regions. How does that happen? Who influences that language shift?
I wonder, given the combination of the Internet and people's moving habits, if this whole map will, one day soon, pixelate further or just turn into a sort of plain brown.
Also, I can't help but think about this in the context of Dixon. What will he call CSDs? If today's behavior is any indicator, he'll probably simply call all brands "Not Beer." It's easy that way. He's rarely wrong. (Although he has been quick to identify Diet Cokes lately, too).