You asked, we answered: 34 things you probably don’t know about Atlanta

Where did “Hotlanta” come from and why does it refuse to die?

Someone holding a can of Don't Call It Hotlanta by Monday Brewing
Photograph courtesy of Monday Night Brewing

Who actually coined the nickname that refuses to die is a mystery. And while many people credit the Allman Brothers Band for popularizing it—the Macon band’s instrumental track “Hot ’Lanta” appeared on their At Fillmore East live album in 1971—they didn’t originate it. A Tennessean writer used the portmanteau in a 1958 column and a 2008 AJC article on the word’s etymology says some Atlantans began hearing the term back in the 1960s. Interestingly enough, a sports columnist from the Tallahassee Democrat, writing about Atlanta’s sports scene in 1966, said Hotlanta was the nickname “downstate crackers call [the city].” Hotlanta is now, unequivocally, uncool. Why? Because it’s stupid. A decade ago, “The Bert Show” on Q100 launched a “campaign” to officially retire the phrase, garnering plenty of debate on social media over whether or not the nickname should be buried. Monday Night Brewing even has a limited-run IPA dubbed Don’t Call it Hotlanta, which it rereleased just before Super Bowl LIII this year as a reminder to visitors and the international media covering the game. “Almost every major city has a nickname that’s a big eye-roll to locals,” says brewery cofounder Jonathan Baker. “Hotlanta is an old nickname and one that carries very narrow connotations. It doesn’t represent the diverse, vibrant, eclectic city that we are now.” Instead, stick to just calling it Atlanta. ATL is also acceptable. The Big Peach is not.

This article appears in our November 2019 issue.