You can’t escape this popular, fizzy drink. It’s stocked in company fridges, grocery stores pile the colorful cases at entrances, men and women all over the country are wearing ‘La Croix Over Boys’ shirts and people even dressed up as cans of La Croix for Halloween. Type in #livelacroix on Instagram and you’ll see what all the hype is about.
What’s interesting about La Croix is that it didn’t become popular overnight. In fact, the sparkling water has actually been around for decades. LaCroix was founded in 1981 in La Crosse, Wisconsin by G. Heileman Brewing Company, a family-owned brewery. From the cursive script, faux Francophile name, to the flashy colors of the can, one would assume this sparkling water was imported from the south of France. However, since the early 1990s, the brand has really expanded aggressively outside of the Midwest.
La Croix carved out their own segment of the market and positioned their sparkling drink as one of the first “Anti-Perrier” brands. They were tired of the high-class, elite and snobbish positioning that Perrier went to market with. So, like any smart brand does, they went in a complete different direction and marketed their product as an “all occasion” beverage.
The rise in popularity
In 2002, La Croix was acquired by the National Beverage Corp, which is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and focuses on manufacturing and distributing flavored soft drinks. Post acquisition, La Croix’s management team considered a rebrand, but ended up executing on the design that was most popular among their target audience. Interestingly, this was the least favored design by La Croix’s management team. So cheers to them for going against their gut and trusting the voice of their customer.
They adjusted their logo, “which started out black but they changed it to blue to connote water,” according to Zimmerman, of Alchemy Brand Group, the agency hired by La Croix to re-imagine the can . Further, Zimmerman goes on to explain that “In a sea of logos that were more sedate, precious in size, and often sans serif, the script denoted movement, energy, and fluidity—all traits applicable to water and especially the effervescence of LaCroix. The swirly background also suggested flowing water, while the multicolor layers gave it depth and allowed the company to ‘code’ the design according to flavor.”
Why is it Called La Croix?
First thing is first, it is pronounced “La Croy” not “La Kwah” or “La Krah” and on their website, La Croix even calls out that it rhymes with enjoy to help customers remember. So next time a friend or colleague pronounces it incorrectly, make sure to correct them. If you are currently brainstorming a list of potential names for your business, make sure to run a pronunciation test with a handful of people, ideally in your target audience. If people can’t, or are even slightly hesitant about, saying your name wrong, they won’t say it, which means you will benefit less from word of mouth marketing. As a reminder, brand names should be easy to spell and pronounce; these are key ingredients in a strong name.
According to Business Insider, “‘La’ was taken from the city of La Crosse, and ‘Croix’ hails from the beautiful St. Croix River which flows between Wisconsin and Minnesota.” Being that this is the Midwest, the St. Croix River is pronounced with an elongated “o,” and so the drink is pronounced, “La Croy.” In 2004, the company only offered 6 flavors: pure, lemon, lime, berry, orange and cran-rasberry. In 2008, they introduced the famed pamplemousse grapefruit and now offer 21 different flavors.
Before this article, did you know that La Croix had been around for decades? Comment below and be sure to tell us about your favorite flavor. Thanks for reading why is La Croix called La Croix! #whyisitcalledLaCroix
Lauren Dunn is a contributor for Rewind and Capture. With a passion for food and wine she received a degree in agricultural journalism and has put this to use as a cellar apprentice from Italy to Sonoma. When she’s not in the vineyard she’s training for open water swims or catching a flick at the cinema.