I was on Twitter Tuesday night when I learned that Four Loko, ruiner of college livers everywhere from the years of 2009-2011, was coming out with a hard seltzer. In true Four Loko fashion, each can is 14% ABV, which is higher than a glass of wine. “Jesus Christ,” I said to myself (and then, approximately six seconds later, to my Twitter followers). “I’m going to end up in the morgue once these things hit shelves.” We all joked “Four Lokos walked so spiked seltzers could run” enough times that Four Loko called our bluff and f*cking ran all the way with it.
This came just one day after Natural Light, equal ruiner of college livers everywhere, announced its two new seltzers, puzzlingly named Catalina Lime Mixer and Aloha Beaches.
That’s right, we made a f***ing seltzer.
Introducing the two newest members of the Natural Light fam: Catalina Lime Mixer & Aloha Beaches. 6% ABV hard seltzer. LFG pic.twitter.com/MXAcGuCQVE
— Natural Light (@naturallight) August 12, 2019
When the two drinks you equate to puking in a communal toilet have graduated to a beverage you would bring to a barbecue, we have officially reached a spiked seltzer bubble.
I first became aware of spiked seltzers as a concept in 2015, when we wrote an article about its existence. At the time, we wrote, “Spiked Seltzer is a refreshing, bubbly alcoholic seltzer drink that betches will love for being low carb, all natural, and this year’s hottest trend that no one really understands and never legitimately follows: gluten free!” Honestly, still true. Back in 2015, BON & VIV was one of, if not the, only companies making hard seltzers, and its mermaid logo became iconic. But, I’ll be honest, even though I knew spiked seltzers existed, I’d had maybe a few at my brother’s apartment (his roommate and his girlfriend were big on them and always had some in the fridge). They existed, but they were not really a ~thing~. They were more of a novelty than a go-to drink.
Until the summer of 2019.
Fast forward four years, and spiked seltzers are everywhere. BON & VIV no longer has the monopoly on the alcoholic sparkling water market, with companies like White Claw and Truly in the mix, plus apparently every other alcohol brand racing to invent their own equivalent. And, look, I’m not just making this up from anecdotal evidence. Chelsea Phillips, Vice President, Beyond Beer Brands at Anheuser-Busch, said, “It’s no secret this is the year of hard seltzer.” She added, “BON & VIV has seen tremendous growth since our founder Nick Shields invented the category back in 2013.”
Nowhere is that growth more evident (besides your friend groups) than on Twitter and Instagram. Memes about all types of alcoholic seltzer have cropped up, seemingly out of nowhere, with each brand getting its own unofficial slogan and accompanying fanbase. You’ve got “ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws,” a battle cry uniting all those who have ever gotten wasted and made a bad decision, especially when day drinking was involved. (So, all of us.)
Brace yourselves. Frat bros calling themselves “White Claw Outlaws” are coming.
— sluttypuffin (@sluttypuffin) August 14, 2019
Four Loko coming out with a spiked seltzer to finish off those of us who survived the first go around
— Rooster (@ruthlee_) August 14, 2019
In the other corner, you’ve got the smaller but mighty “Let’s get unruly with Truly” and its variants.
Drinking Truly: unruly
Drinking White Claws: no laws
Drinking Four Loko Sours: Commencement of the annual Purge pic.twitter.com/3QH9xpZRBU
— Hayley Phillips (@somecallmehay) August 14, 2019
Whatever team you’re on—and truthfully, I’ve yet to meet a single person who solely drinks one type of spiked seltzer—it’s clear we are f*cking obsessed with spiked seltzers.
How did this happen? Last summer, it was all about rosé and its frozen counterpart, frosé. Millennial pink, Instagrammable, and slightly bourgeois to pronounce, it’s no wonder it took over the internet. This summer was poised to be dedicated to the aperol spritz—bright orange and equally eye-catching—and then somehow, spiked seltzers muscled their way into our Twitter and Instagram feeds, backyard parties, and even bars, with bars selling cans of White Claw and, in the case of one of my local dives, offering Truly on tap.
As for how exactly we got here, it’s actually pretty simple to piece together. The popularity of hard seltzers can pretty easily be traced back to that of its sober counterpart: regular seltzer. But not just any seltzer—LaCroix. No brand of seltzer blew up quite as astronomically as LaCroix, with its ubiquitous sh*tty script, weird neon cloud design, and subtle flavors that spawned a million jokes, like “LaCroix tastes like someone whispered the word ‘banana’ in another room.”
new lacroix flavors!
-transported in a truck near bananas
-hint of hint of lime
-single skittle dissolved in water
-imagine like, a strawberry but with low battery
— Pitch (@pitchjokes) June 13, 2018
It’s not shocking that the popularity of hard seltzer is due in part to the success of LaCroix, considering Phillips says, “we’ve heard consumers refer to BON & VIV Spiked Seltzer as a ‘boozy LaCroix’ more than a few times.” What many millennials who swear by the stuff probably don’t know is that LaCroix has been around since 1981. Yes, it existed even before there was Twitter on which to make jokes about it, or Instagram on which to post pictures of fridges stocked full of it. But LaCroix really started to blow up in 2015—two years after BON & VIV was invented. That year, LaCroix sales tripled, pulling in $175 to $226 million dollars a year. The reasons are pretty simple: LaCroix’s eye-catching packaging, combined with consumers’ flock to healthier alternatives to soda, and a few savvy marketing techniques (to simplify the phenomenon) created the force it’s known as today.
Then, if you have two brain cells to rub together, you can take a guess that people’s desire to make healthy drink choices doesn’t stop at their alcoholic beverages. Phillips states, “Hard seltzer’s growth path mirrors that of non-alcoholic seltzer.” She explains, “We find our key consumers are health-aware men and women who want something that tastes great, requiring no sacrifices.”
I was sitting in my friend’s backyard a few weeks ago, where we had blown up a kiddie pool to turn an ordinary Sunday afternoon into a makeshift pool party. A group of guys we knew showed up, toting a box of BON & VIV. My roommate turned to me, sipping from her can of hard seltzer.
“It’s funny,” she says. “Spiked seltzers are basically just wine coolers, which guys in the past would make fun of us for liking. But now they’re all obsessed with spiked seltzers.”
Coming in brightly colored cans and fruity tasting, I would have thought bros everywhere would be eschewing these drinks, clinging desperately to their masculinity. But the opposite has happened. In fact, men are embracing seltzers so much that the term “White Claw Bros” is a thing.
— Justin Smith (@Justin__Charles) August 13, 2019
I asked a few male friends, and they disagreed with me that hard seltzers are seen as “girly” drinks in the first place (more on that problematic characterization in a sec). Mike, 35, said, “I think the perception about ‘girl drinks’ is about how sugary and sweet they are, and I think that’s Mike’s Hard, Smirnoff Ice, etc. way more than spiked seltzer.” Melvin, 30, chimed in, “They’re easy on the stomach, not heavy, and the alcohol content isn’t high enough to where you’ll get sh*t faced if you just want to hang (like at a beach or bbq).”
Bruce, 38, says, “My first experience with the Claws was literally because I went to the beach with females and they brought like 24 of them. I brought beers, and then I saw black cherry and I was like ‘sh*t, I like black cherry’.” He adds, “I was already drinking LaCroix every so often, and a La Croix option with alcohol? Sheeeeeiiiittt.”
Aron, 31, asserts, “They’re heavy on taste (especially mango!) and light on calories.” But also, he says, “on a side note: it’s always amusing to me how we as a society claim we want modern men who’re less focused on gender norms and yet we’re still having this conversation because deep down many women still seem to want ‘manly men’ and thus as men we need to justify why drinking a claw, or any drink deemed “girly,” is okay and isn’t dissonant or otherwise at odds with our identities as men.” And yes, he really said this—I will show you my group texts.
To all the men that think they are too “manly” to drink White Claw .. sorry ahead of time if your girl at my place drinking claws
— White Claw Gang (@whiteclawcrew) August 10, 2019
Phillips says the BON & VIV demo is “split even” but female-skewing. White Claw reps didn’t get back to me for comment, but I would assume their demographic is similar. Basically, the conclusion we as a group came to was, as Aron put it: “It’s just a great drink for everybody and men and women both appreciate a lot of the same characteristics” (taste, sugar content, calories, alcohol content). Or, as Bruce said, “You won’t feel like you went on a bender, fun for both genders.” After having four seltzers last week at the beach and feeling hungover by 9pm, I’m going to disagree with the “not feeling like you went on a bender” claim, but I’m here for the gender universality.
Whether or not spiked seltzers will reign supreme next summer remains to be seen. But for now, stock up on the brand of your choosing and crack one open. Because right now, we’re in a spiked seltzer bubble, and just like any trend—podcasts, festivals—this one is eventually going to burst.
Images: bonandviv / Instagram; sluttypuffin, ruthlee_, somecallmehay, pitchjokes, whiteclawcrew / Twitter
2018 is a weird time in the world of fashion. Everyone is wearing the tiny sunglasses from The Matrix, you’re expected to wear bike shorts in public, and now some insane person has decided that we should also be incorporating yellow into our wardrobes. Hard pass. But perhaps the strangest fashion development yet this year are these incredibly fugly LaCroix swimsuits. Yes, LaCroix, as in the flavored sparkling water that half of you love to pregame with, and half of you wouldn’t drink if your life depended on it. I happen to fall in the latter category, but these suits are disgusting no matter what.
LaCroix started to have a major moment a couple years ago, when people apparently first realized that most mixers are, like, not good for you. LaCroix quickly became one of the biggest basic bitch trends, but no one really cares about it anymore. That didn’t stop designer Eric Wu from slapping the LaCroix logo on some swimsuits for summer 2018. I’m not sure this truly counts as being a “designer,” because I’m pretty sure I could make these same swimsuits on any website that lets you customize T-shirts.
introducing ｌａ ｃｒｏｉｘ swim trunks and one-pieces to keep you sparkling at pool parties this summer like it's 1997. order by 05/17 to receive by memorial day 05/28! ⚡️ｇｉｖｉｎｇ ａｗａｙ⚡️ a few of these: like + follow + tag a friend for one entry. multiple tags = multiple entries. announcing winners on monday 05/07! ????: mmntmr.com
So yeah, the swimsuits are ugly as fuck, but to each his own I guess. The suits come in five different ~flavors~, which are Pure, Lemon Lime, Passionfruit, Pamplemousse, and Cran-Raspberry. Sorry to all you psychopaths who like the coconut flavor, no swimsuits for you. You’ll just have to drink that nasty shit in normal clothes like sad peasants. The Pure swimsuit is probably the least heinous, but also I don’t trust anyone who drinks the Pure flavor of LaCroix, so this is really a lose-lose situation.
Luckily, there are LaCroix swimsuits for both men and women, so you can guarantee your place as the most cringeworthy couple on the beach this summer with just one online order. The one-piece is $49.50, and the men’s trunks are $39.50, because of course the one for women has to cost more. Further evidence that you should not buy these swimsuits! If you and your boyfriend both want to wear these together, congratulations, you truly deserve each other. Now get out of my face and never speak to me again.
So yeah, if I see anyone at the beach this summer wearing these LaCroix swimsuits, they’re cordially invited to not be my friend. Hopping on the fun one-piece trend is great and there’s nothing wrong with a fun swimsuit, but the obsession with LaCroix has gone far enough. It’s fucking sparkling water, guys, it’s not that special.
Images: @publicspace.xyz / Instagram; Giphy
So, according to my calculations (and Wikipedia) LaCroix was made as a down-to-earth alternative to the “snobbish” Perrier. I’m pretty sure calling it LaCroix was their first mistake in trying to establish an accessible brand, mainly because LaCroix is the only word I have in my French vocabulary besides fromage. Cue DJ Khaled, because LaCroix really played themselves. Just like your alcoholic drink of choice tells me everything I need to know about you and more, so does your favorite LaCroix flavor. These personality predictions are 100% true and backed by science, and by science I mean I DM’d Bill Nye on Twitter to get his seal of approval and he hasn’t responded. Drink on, betches!
The Zodiac Killer is your role model. Your favorite pastime is sipping on an ice cold can of Pure LaCroix after murdering every blonde girl in your sorority. You use your iPhone without a case because you are truly disturbed and have nothing to lose.
You take your shoes and socks off on flights and clap when the plane lands. Your go-to workout shirt says “Your workout is my warmup,” and you call Gatorade flavors by their real name. Probably a cop.
You never forget a birthday and check in with your grandparents on a semi-regular basis. You won’t sign me into that 8am no matter how many times I offer to Venmo you $10. NARC.
Whoever said tangerine is the new orange was seriously disturbed.
You’re not totally sure how to pronounce La Croix but can definitely vouch for “how pretty the cans are”. You were raised in a household of Polar Seltzer and are scared to try different flavors cause, idk, they might kill you or something.
I get that you’re embarrassed to drink soda in public, but I think getting caught with a can of NiCola is arguably worse. I’m impressed that LaCroix was able to bottle the exact taste of a McDonald’s fountain Diet Coke that’s been sitting in a hot car for 5 hours.
Cerise Limón Cúrate
If I hear you talking about your semester in Barthelona one more time, I am going to call the cops.
The Cosmopolitan Snapchat feed is your main source for world news, and you’re still praying that Drake will answer your DMs. Maybe start wearing less and going out more?
You are constantly having an existential crisis because Mercury is in retrograde. And no, don’t get bangs.
One time you lost ‘Odds Are’ and had to drink bong water, and uh, actually kind of liked it.
If you were a character in The Office, you would definitely be a part of The Finer Things Club. Conor Kennedy tried grinding on you once, but you willfully declined because you didn’t want Taylor Swift’s sloppy seconds.
Ah, pamplemousse’s annoying vegan cousin. You watched What The Health once and won’t shut up about it. Seriously, stop. No one likes the bitch at brunch who makes a hangover worse by scolding others for getting eggs benny. Let me and my hollandaise sauce be.
It’s no secret that betches live for LaCroix. It is bubbly calorie-less deliciousness in a can and they make tremendous mixers and come in a shit ton of flavors. What more could you ask for in a beverage? We even ranked them by betchiness to help you make a wise, informed, non-shitty decision. You’re welcome, btw. Of course, the regular suspects were all at the top: pamplemousse (or grapefruit for English speakers) and all the Curatés. Fucking duh. But then they went and released tangerine La Croix and fucked up our list because holy shit it’s good. Like incredibly good. But instead of re-doing the whole thing and it being the exact same list with one addition, we’re just gonna tell you everything you need to know about the yummy new can on the block.
First things first, it’s not THAT new to some peeps in “select markets” *cough* LA and New York *cough*, but, just like everything that starts in the cool cities, now it’s becoming mainstream so we can all have it. Unless, of course, you live in bumfuck nowhere and don’t have a Whole Foods nearby or anything. Actually, that’s not even an excuse. You can order La Croix on Amazon. If you’re not drinking it, that’s on you. Sorry.
If you like the citrus flavors—which you do, because they’re the best chasers—tangerine is about to be your shit. Like, if you’re married to orange or lemon—fuck, maybe even pamplemousse—tangerine is bound to be your new sexy, free-spirited mistress. In terms of flavor, tangerine finds herself (yes, it’s a girl) somewhere in between having no taste at all and being so sweet you feel like you’re having a watered down Mountain Dew. It’s bright and fresh, and is hands down one of the bubbliest, which is key to achieving prime LaCroix status. Looking at you, coconut.
But I know what you’re all wondering: 1) What’s the best alcohol to mix tangerine with? Great question. I personally recommend vodka or tequila. Vodka because duh and tequila because it’s like a little spin on a marg but it won’t make you fat, and 2) Where would it fall on the betchy La Croix ranking? That one is a lot harder. On the one hand, it’s my new fave flave. But I’m having a hard time taking the crown from the OG effervescent treat, pamplemousse. So let’s just say this… It’s def in the top three. Sorry lemon/lime, looks like you may have just gotten a demotion.