And you didn't know that this trendy can was made right in our backyard.
We didn’t see it either. The flavored water that families love has been popping up on social media faster than any Kylie lip kit could ever. From every NY fashion blogger to SF socialite, we had to figure out how their popularity grew overnight.
LaCroix was originally marketed by G. Heileman Brewing Company in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The product experienced a sharp increase in sales after a nationwide recall of Perrier brand carbonated water in the United States in early 1990. Because LaCroix specializes in flavored beverages, it is rivaled by Crystal Light. Now a part of the Sundance Beverage Company, National Beverage Corp., and a subsidiary of the Thomas Price sparkling refreshment empire, the multiple colored can found (heavily mass-produced) in sunny Fremont, California.
LaCroix is the (current) best selling domestic sparkling water brand in the USA. A true favorite for over 30+ years, LaCroix has the distinction of being the number one sparkling water brand sold in cans. Today, the brand is recognized by consumers throughout North America and beyond, with its unique blue logo and array of refreshing flavors. Pronounced “la-croy”, consumers are reminded of the correct pronunciation when asked to “enjoy LaCroix” with every sip they take. But how did the brand spring back up in 2016, the culpit—Instagram.
Making a bold marketing move to have a "live LaCroix" social campaign #LiveLaCroix, the brand began to target high profile internet socialites. Anywhere from Gigi Gorgeous to the Kardashians and even editor's of varied magazines. Even Instagram's fashion head, Eva Chen had began snapping her favorite flavors for all 647k followers to see.
And somewhere in 2015 — The New York Times published an essay raving about it. The Awl and Time Out New York ranked its flavors. This sparkling water substitute garnered itself back into the public eye. Making it's front row shelf chair bigger and wider than ever, though from a San Francisco perspective the brand had arrived just in time of the city's decision to ban plastic water bottles. Finding alternative ways to drink water that wasn't plastic pointed towards the trendy can.
"People know NOTHING about the company that owns it so they don't feel beholden to a big brand like Coke or Pepsi," Aminatou Sow, a digital strategist who told Vox of her obsession for the brand.
With the fizzy water making its way onto our phones and apps, major tech companies (i.e Dropbox & Facebook) now stock their fridges head to toe with a variety of their flavors. Sparkling water "was like a HUGE part of my job at every place I've ever worked at," Ryan Rosenberg, a TV writer's assistant, told VOX's Libby Nelson. Completely banishing the troublesome duo, Coke and Pepsi, from big billionaire tech companies lives — employees are encouraged to drink more water without really changing their chemistry.
With nearly 1.8 billion bottles of Coca-Cola opened a day, the water giant swooped in to relief those of the sugary ailment. From the time span of 1997 to 2007, over 1/3rd of our weight gain was because of soft drinks — I admit, my habits curved the minute LaCroix was introduced into our office. Replacing my addiction fro Sprite to their Lemon and Lime flavor seemed like a no-brainier. And by god, it actually worked.
To even go so far as to rank LaCroix's flavors, the people became enamored. Gil Silberman, a local since 1993, rejoiced when LaCroix hit the scene, "It became popular with me in about 2012-2013. I'd enjoyed it greatly when visiting Minnesota in the early 1990s and was happy as heck when it arrived here. Our own local brands, Calistoga and Crystal Geyser, have a salty mineral taste, unimaginative flavors, and uncouth large bubbles. The generic brands are worse and Perrier, lacking competition, was too expensive." Getting the deal and an awesome 'thirst-quenching' flavor, Silberman agrees that the brand must be doing something right?!
They must have gone on a huge well-funded marketing blitz because Whole Foods promoted the heck of them, with massive displays that sat near the store entrance and very low prices — just over $3 for a 12-can case — for months at a time.
I personally remember the brand as a child, where my mother would try and force me to drink in lieu of soda — but I couldn't kick the pop phase and never really tried to stomach the water. Now LaCroix has populated its own Instagram with photos taken by its followers — a cascade of pretty, laughing people; stacks of pastel LaCroix cases; and gorgeous, minimalist still lifes with artfully placed seltzer cans. (*cough see below)
But listen, everyone deserves a seat at the thrown and until Pellegrino decides to make their comeback, we're quite content with our 90's #tbt.
Ashley is Bob Cut's former lifestyle editor — Follow Ashley at her site below.