La Croix’s recent lawsuits may have you searching for substitutes to the sparkling water king. Since the 1980s, colorful cans of naturally flavored sparkling water have popped up everywhere.
Perfect on a hot day or in mocktails, the citrus and berry flavors attracted a massive following over the years. Walking down grocery store aisles these days, you’ll see several competing brands next to the iconic cans.
Join us for a look at the best La Croix substitutes on the market. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite.
About La Croix Sparkling Water
Sparkling water king La Croix popped up in the 1980s as a substitute for snobby European mineral water. Perrier had the most prominent brand recognition in the United States, too much for the liking of a midwest company.
The G. Heileman Brewing Company from La Crosse, Wisconsin, came out with La Croix in 1980. Meant to replace Perrier in good midwestern homes, the American brand blew it out of the water.
With the decline of soda sales in the 2010s, La Croix’s marketing to millennials made it the top sparkling water brand in the country. Core flavors include citrus standards like lemon, lime, orange, and pamplemousse (grapefruit). Seasonally they also offer other flavors in themes. For example, beach flavors (plum, cherry blossom, guava) appeal to a different lifestyle.
They’ve branched into Latin households with cúrate and NiCola flavor profiles. Blackberry cucumber, kiwi watermelon, cherry lime, and pineapple strawberry are a few of the cúrate flavors. NiCola brings us cola flavors, coffee essence, and mojito.
Sourced from local water reservoirs, the triple-filtered water is flavored and carbonated onsite. The controversy came from two since-dropped lawsuits claiming the flavors weren’t all-natural.
La Croix is sugar-free and calorie-free and uses fruit oils to flavor its sparkling water.
Three main types of water are on our list, sparkling water, seltzer water, and mineral water. Sparkling water is additive-free, seltzer may contain sodium and sugar, and mineral water contains, you guessed it, minerals.
So which water is best for your lifestyle? Let’s find out!
Pro Tip: Even La Croix fans agree, these are the 5 Worst La Croix Water Flavors.
Launched by beverage giant PepsiCo in 2018 to compete with La Croix, bubly is another naturally flavored sparkling water. Crashing into the beverage market during the 2019 Super Bowl, Michael Bublé introduced us to bubly.
Available in a range of flavors, from the traditional lime to caffeinated blood orange grapefruit. The bubly website is also sensitive to folks skipping alcohol and making mocktails. They have a whole section dedicated to mixology with recipes and ideas for non-alcoholic zingers.
Using locally-sourced water, PepsiCo adds flavors and carbonates the sparkling drink at the source. Like La Croix, natural flavors are a bit of a mystery. All we know is that their flavors are unique and fresh. We love bubly with a bit of lime and jalapeño over ice when we’re skipping the booze.
With their caffeinated version, Bounce, and a mix-and-match cocktail menu, bubly appeals to a hipper crowd than La Croix. Those dated cans of your parents’ generation better make way for the fresh flavors of bubly.
The old stalwart, Perrier, is what started this whole segment of the beverage market. After all, La Croix was a response to the snooty French mineral water brand.
Introduced in 1898 by Louis Perrier as a health tonic, the water comes from a spring long recognized as unique. Ancient Romans built baths to capture the naturally carbonated mineral water, and Perrier ran a spa for many years. He bottled the water and sold it, but it wasn’t until a young Englishman tasted the elixir that it took off.
William St. John Harmsworth, the scion of a newspaper family, bought the spring and shut down the spa. His idea to capitalize on the natural water source came in the form of green glass bottles in the shape of Indian clubs. Fast forward to the present, and Perrier fills grocery shelves worldwide.
With unflavored, lemon, and lime as its core flavors, Perrier has a few other varieties available. Since it is mineral water, Perrier contains eight minerals enhancing the flavor. Interestingly, the carbon dioxide in the spring water is separated when harvested but added back in during bottling. The company ensures that the finished product’s carbon dioxide levels match the spring’s levels.
For the classic sparkling mineral water, you can’t go wrong with Perrier. But make sure to get glass bottles for the best flavor.
#3 Topo Chico
Steeped in legend and mystery, Topo Chico comes from the spring of the Cerro del Topo Chico. According to the stories, the daughter of the great emperor Moctezuma drank from the spring after a long journey. Until the early 20th century, the secret of the spring nestled in the Monterrey hills remained local.
In 1900, Don Emilio Hellion joined the small group bottling the spring water. After a few years, and much success, the company also acquired the rights to bottle Coca-Cola in Mexico. Since then, the business has built the reputation it enjoys today. Pure mineral water, carbonated at the source.
Topo Chico, ice cold and straight from the bottle, is an intensely fizzy experience. Add a wedge of lime, and you’re on your way to paradise.
One classic recipe using this La Croix substitute is called ranch water. Lime, simple syrup, and tequila mixed in the bottle make up this Texas classic. Topo Chico now offers flavored mineral water with lime, lemon, and grapefruit flavors. You can also find Topo Chico branded hard seltzer, but that’s a different story.
Since 1882, the Crowley family has crafted Polar Seltzer in the tradition of founder Dennis Crowley. A bartender and inventor, he created a seltzer with “zillions of tiny bubbles” that tingled the tastebuds.
Back then, as now, sparkling water was big business. With Prohibition shutting down the bar business, seltzer was the lifeblood of the family. Crowley started infusing his seltzer with fruit essences, and people caught on. Horse-drawn delivery wagons turned into 18-wheelers, and the fizzy water keeps flowing to this day.
Using a patented process to carbonate the triple-filtered water, Polar Seltzers has a unique approach. Carbon dioxide is “coaxed” into the water without salts or sweeteners. The flavor speaks for itself. Polar Seltzer is intensely flavored and highly satisfying. Eighteen flavors also mean you’ll never get bored of this classic.
Since 2017, the folks at Waterloo Sparkling Water have focused on crafting a beverage that supports a healthy lifestyle. The biggest surprise in cracking open a can of Waterloo comes in the complex and lively flavor combinations. Flavor artists spend significant time developing each new Waterloo flavor.
From their six to nine-month development process, flavors that’ll blow your mind pour out. Joining favorites like lemon and lime are blackberry lemonade, pineapple, and summer berry. Flavors developed through the process include carbonation in the process. So you’ll be able to tell the difference from the first sip.
As with all of the beverages on this list, Waterloo contains zero calories or sweeteners. So you can crush multiple cans per day and know you’re making a smart choice.
Pro Tip: Always have fresh water while on the road by installing one of these RV Water Filters: Good, Better & Best.
Sparkling Waters Add Zip to Your Day
Just because you’re drinking water, you shouldn’t have to compromise on flavor and experience. And while La Croix certainly brought sparkling water back from the brink, there are other tasty substitutes out there.
Whether you’re mixing mocktails or sitting by the pool, our favorites all have something in common. They take the mundane act of drinking water to a new level.
Take a walk on the wild side and try out your new favorite sparkling water.
What’s your favorite brand of sparkling water? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
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