True Hollywood Story: LaCroix

Recently, your mom's favorite bubbly water has become a millennial media darling.


June 8, 2017

With its French name and ‘90s splatter branding that looks like it should be “filled with self-tanner,” LaCroix has long been a favorite of Midwestern moms. But recently, Aunt Kathy’s favorite bubbly water has become a millennial media darling.

Despite the plateauing of other sparkling water brands, LaCroix’s stock has skyrocketed since 2010, jumping from $12 to $55 per share (under the ticker name FIZZ, of course).

So how did this Wisconsin-based brand go from “Midwest fancy” to “bi-coastal chic?” Hollywood, baby.

A star is born

National Beverage bought the ambiguously European brand (pronounced, “la croy” to the dismay of French people everywhere) in 1996, in hopes of bringing the sparkling-water craze from fancy restaurants to suburban fridges.

And as more and more young people turned away from soda, sparkling water consumption increased 58% between 2010 and 2014, with LaCroix leading the charge.

But, until recently, its subtle flavors — a wink of kiwi, an elbow nudge of apricot, an earlobe tug of tangerine — had yet to hit the mainstream.

Then it got “discovered”

National Beverage expanded its West Coast distribution, making it stupidly easy to order it in bulk from office supply stores, and LaCroix became a hit amongst the people in showbiz.

A writer on Parks and Recs, literally begged LaCroix to be their spokesperson and, in 2015, the fizzy stuff had a breakout feature by a comedy writer in The New York Times.

LaCroix also made its way onto approved lists for vocal adherents to the Paleo and Whole30 diet plans, with glamorous influencers Instagramming it at their #brunches and #poolparties.

“I’d like to thank my manager”

National Beverage’s catapulting LaCroix’s popularity the same way they did with their original Shasta sodas — by constantly reinventing it.

Much like Shasta, which offers 36 flavors, LaCroix has expanded from just 5 flavors to 20 since 2004.

Meanwhile, NB and their 80-year-old billionaire founder, purposefully lurk in relative obscurity so as not to cast a lumbering shadow onto their bubbly starlet… quietly luring more ‘cola converts’ into the fold.

Daily briefings, straight to your inbox

Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less

Join over 1 million people who read The Hustle

Psst

How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

Join us, it's free.

Look, you came to this site because you saw something cool. But here’s the deal. This site is actually a daily email that covers the important news in business, tech, and culture.

So, if you like what you’re reading, give the email a try.