If you grew up in the Midwest like I did, chances are you or someone you knew had a case of LaCroix in the fridge.
Now after 30 years, LaCroix still appeals to its original Midwestern base while also becoming popular with hipsters and tastemakers thanks to new flavours like passionfruit and tangerine. There are hashtags dedicated to it, The New York Times wrote a love letter about the water, and Bloomberg reported sales increased 45% between 2014 and 2015.
The problem is everyone’s pronouncing the brand name wrong: LaCroix is pronounced “la-croy” not “la kwah” or “la krah,” like the French might say it.
The company even explains on its website that the name is pronounced “la-croy,” and helpfully mentions that it “rhymes with enjoy.”
The name comes from the brand’s midwestern origins: LaCroix was originally produced out of a family-owned brewery in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in 1981. According to the website, “‘La’ was taken from the city of La Crosse, and ‘Croix’ hails from the beautiful St. Croix River which flows between Wisconsin and Minnesota.”
More recently, LaCroix was purchased by the National Beverage Corporation in 1996, which is responsible for the image overhaul the sparkling water underwent, including bright, colourful cans and lots of new flavours.
Then, slowly but surely, it became a huge hit. Perhaps it was the indie crowd that popularised LaCroix for its retro-feel, or maybe it was health-conscious bloggers who liked that it was bubbly yet healthier than soda. It also could have been the Instagram fanatics who were drawn to the cans’ photo-ready colours, or people who created marketable swag like these “LaCroix over boys” shirts.
Or perhaps, as Libby Nelson and Javier Zarracina wrote on Vox, “LaCroix isn’t everywhere because it was trendy. LaCroix became trendy because it was easy for it to be everywhere.”
The one thing that never changed about LaCroix? How you pronounce the name.
So the next time your cool friend offers you a can, tell them you’d love some “la croy.”
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