Why LaCroix Is Taking Over Fridges Nationwide

The world of sparkling water -- and probably the beverage world at large -- has a new sheriff in town. Its name is LaCroix.

Maybe you've seen #LiveLaCroix pour into your Instagram feed, watched older health-conscious women pile the water into shopping carts, or plucked a can from a LaCroix-stocked fridge at your office. 

Even if you're unfamiliar with the drink, 2016 its expected to be LaCroix's blowup year, according to an in-depth look at LaCroix by Vox.

Increasingly, Americans are putting down cans of soda in favor of bottled water. But the craving for carbonation persists, and the result is a sparkling water boom. LaCroix has been ready for that boom since it was first produced in the '80s.

The drink is cheap and portable, and since it's churned out by National Beverage in 12 plants nationwide, it's readily available.

That's turned out to be a key success factor for LaCroix.

"The company itself had the kind of infrastructure that could allow to scale it up very quickly," said Jeffrey Klineman, editor of the beverage industry publication BevNET. "When you get a little bit of momentum, if you can execute behind that momentum, it can really drive a brand forward."

That momentum started brewing five years ago: the amount of domestically produced sparkling water consumed by Americans grew 58 percent between 2010 and 2014, according to the International Bottled Water Association.

Not only does LaCroix satisfy consumers' need for a fizz fix, it keeps them interested with an ever-growing variety of flavors. Right now, there are 20, from pamplemousse grapefruit to peach-pear. 

Combine LaCroix's business strategy with social-media marketing, and you've got a star beverage. Bloggers rave about drinking LaCroix on a Whole 30 diet, going to stores to stock up on new flavors and pledging allegiance to a delicious fizzy beverage that isn't soda. The drink's popularity among writers certainly doesn't hurt, either. 

The popularity of the aesthetically pleasing can on social media suggests that LaCroix is more than just a drink. It's a lifestyle.

Some say it's just another trend whose followers will abandon it in favor of the next thing, but as long as people are paying $25 for shirts that say "LACROIXS OVER BOYS," it's safe to say that 2016 is the year of #LiveLaCroix.