Tennessee's Ski came out of America's 1950s soda boom and went on to become the country's No. 1 all-time best-selling citrus-flavored soda, carving out its rightful place in our country's esteemed history forever and ever, amen. OK, fine, all of that is completely untrue, but if you've ever tasted the gorgeous lemon-orange fizz, you'll instantly understand why I made all that up. Ski is like Sprite if Sprite never decided J. Cole was a "legend," Squirt if Squirt had somehow avoided the awful name "Squirt," Sierra Mist if it never even existed because good grief, that stuff is nasty. It's simply the world's most splendid soft drink and the South is infinitely lucky to have it.
Thomas Kemper (Oregon)
Thomas Kemper started brewing its sodas right around the time Portland's craft beer thing started (and even worked with Pyramid Breweries), maintaining the oh-so-Portland mentality of keeping it local. Here, it's honey augmenting the sugar cane in an upscale line of ginger ale, vanilla cream, and black cherry sodas to go along with a traditional root beer that stands tall next to big dogs like Sioux City. And while other artisanal sodas are, of course, popping up in Stumptown -- organic pizza joint Hot Lips has a small-batch line -- Kemper's the one that's got the widest reach, and the most love