Here’s How 1 Fizzy Drink Managed to Take America by Storm

The first time I heard of LaCroix was in high school. My teacher sipped on a can during class and said how much she enjoyed the beverage. Since then, LaCroix has grown vastly more popular and become a household name.

Ahead, we break down how it happened and why this flavorful sparkling water is so popular.

What is LaCroix?

LaCroix Water

LaCroix came to be in 1996. | LaCroix Water via Facebook

LaCroix got its start at a family-owned brewery in Wisconsin. Its name comes from the the brewery’s location: “La” is for La Crosse, Wisconsin, and “Croix” comes from the St. Croix river.

In 1996, the National Beverage CEO and founder, Nick A. Caporella, bought LaCroix. Today, National Beverage is the fourth largest branded carbonated soft-drink company in the U.S., according to the company’s website.

LaCroix is considered a healthy beverage

LaCroix Water

It promotes its natural flavoring. | LaCroix Water via Facebook

The company highlights LaCroix as “calorie, sweetener, sodium, and caffeine free.” In addition, LaCroix is certified non-GMO, kosher, and vegan. The beverage has risen to prominence because Americans want soft drinks with less sugar and fewer calories. So, LaCroix became a healthier — but still flavorful — choice compared to other soft drinks.

LaCroix is affordable

LaCroix Water

The price has decreased in the past year. | LaCroix Water via Facebook

I remember seeing LaCroix as a cheap off-brand drink sold at small retailers. However, part of that image has changed. Today, stores nationwide and even in other countries sell the brand.

LaCroix is still cheap, though. In fact, the price per case decreased in 2016, according a National Beverage annual report.

The packaging stands out

LaCroix Water

Their packaging is recognizable. | LaCroix Water via Facebook

After National Beverage’s CEO bought LaCroix, “he redesigned the brand using a bright color palette, increased the flavor offerings, and designed an updated logo complete with double waves,” the sparkling water’s website says.

LaCroix has a unique marketing strategy

LaCroix Water

It made their brand seem more authentic. | LaCroix Water via Facebook

LaCroix doesn’t advertise. To promote their product, the company relies on micro-influencers. “Instead of going after influencers with followers in the thousands, they’re actively sharing content on their feed from Instagram users with as low as 150 followers,” according to Digiday. “It gives them a more authentic and community-based feel.”

It’s part of pop culture

LaCroix Water

They’re banking on free publicity in pop culture. | LaCroix Water via Facebook

LaCroix’s website wants customers to know how often they’re featured on TV shows, websites, and social media. The “Trending” tab on their website shows how entrenched the brand has become in pop culture.

For example, Jimmy Fallon did a segment on how to pronounce “LaCroix” on his talk show. Spoiler: It’s pronounced “La Croy.” Even The New York Times devoted a letter of recommendation to LaCroix in 2015. Plus, dressing up as your favorite LaCroix flavor is now a popular Halloween costume.

Sales keep climbing

LaCroix Water

Whatever they’re doing, it’s working. | LaCroix Water via Facebook

Sales of LaCroix continue to increase as the brand builds a larger following. For instance, in 2017, LaCroix sales increased 35.1% to $326.1 million compared to $241.4 million for the previous fiscal year, according to the company’s annual report.

Consequently, their marketing strategy and increasing sales have been a topic of discussion among financial publications such as Fortune and The Wall Street Journal. It’s clear the company knows what works for them and will continue the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” strategy.

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