Washington Post: Seltzer is “Cooler than Coke”

LaCroix LemonNow the Washington Post is on to the sparkling water category. A post on the venerable publication’s “Wonkblog” evaluated the growth of several brands in the field.

Singled out as symbols of the category’s development are fast-growing LaCroix Sparkling Water, a product of National Beverage Corp. and Sparkling Ice, owned by Talking Rain.

LaCroix, under the guidance of EVP Vanessa Walker, has tripled to more than $175 million for company CEO Nick Caporella, who has hinted at even further expansion beyond its in-platform Curate and NiCola sub-lines.

Beyond that, Sparkling Ice has become a huge success, passing $500 million in sales this year and even hinting at future acquisitions down the line.

The story’s main thrust is that, while fizzy waters have traditionally stood on the snooty side of the class divide — championed by older brands like Perrier and San Pellegrino — the flavors included in LaCroix and Sparkling Ice have let the rabble in and left the venerable products trying to catch up.

Meanwhile, Caporella himself represents the category as being up to a $6 billion opportunity for beverage brands — that’s about four times where it sits now, according to data Euromonitor, which interprets retail sales data. And other brands, like distributor/manufacturer Polar, which is also radically expanding its own Seltzer portfolio, are in the game as well.