Are the original kings of flavored sparkling water trying to tap into the hard seltzer boom?


One of the top trends of 2019 was hard seltzer, taking the existing flavored sparkling water fervor and giving it a boozy twist. The hard seltzer sales leader White Claw limits its lineup to only a handful of flavors, but other brands are picking up the slack with a laundry list of options.

For instance, Truly—the second best-selling hard seltzer brand—comes in over a dozen varieties from Watermelon & Kiwi to Raspberry Lime. Meanwhile, the non-alcoholic sparkling water brand LaCroix must be wondering if they’re getting the respect they deserve: They basically started this whole flavored fizzy water trend, including the “offering-an-insane-number-of-flavors” part (current 25 variations, according to their website.) So for their next trick, LaCroix is ready to turn the boozy seltzer trend back to its alcohol-free routes—releasing LimonCello LaCroix.

LaCroix LimonCello
Credit: Getty Images / Justin Sullivan / Oxana Denezhkina

Limoncello is, of course, an Italian lemon-flavored liqueur often served to cap off a meal or included in cocktails. But last week, LaCroix announced that LimonCello (in LaCroix world, the “L” and the “C” apparently always have to be capitalized) would be the first new LaCroix flavor of 2020. “The Extravagance of Delicious!” the brand posted on Instagram alongside a sunny product shot of the bright yellow can. “Coming 2020!”

LimonCello is an interesting choice for the brand. LaCroix definitely isn’t known for coopting liqueur flavors for soft drink purposes. In fact, in LaCroix’s core range—which is where the new LimonCello flavor will fall—probably the most unorthodox flavor is Key Lime. The other options are extremely straightforward like Orange or Berry or, yes, even Lemon—meaning it’s not like LimonCello will even fill a gaping hole in the LaCroix lineup. Instead, you really do have to wonder whether LaCroix is looking to tap into some of the excitement of the current hard seltzer explosion. LimonCello clearly has some of that crossover appeal.

All that being said, you also have to wonder why LaCroix wouldn’t just find a brewery to team up with and dive headfirst into the hard seltzer biz themselves. There’s definitely interest: In 2018, a brewery even made a boozy LaCroix rip off without the brand’s permission.