La Croix has been a staple on the sparkling water scene for years now, but with newer brands coming into the picture, can La Croix retain its top spot?
La Croix vs. Spindrift: History and Brand Clout
La Croix has been the long-standing “favorite” flavored sparkling water brand for a while. It definitely has the longest history out of those other flavored sparkling water brands on the market, and generally, everyone knows what it is, even if they only know it as the drink of choice for “basic” women.
La Croix got its start in 1981 (the brand was based out of La Crosse, Wisconsin, so you can see how the G. Heileman Brewing Company cleverly came up with the name). La Croix began as a Perrier competitor, with the company declaring that Perrier had a “snobbish” brand identity.
At first, La Croix was just popular in the Midwest. It reached nationwide fame in the 2000s, and when more consumers turned from soda to water and water alternatives in the mid and late 2010s, La Croix staked its claim on the marketplace with millennial-focused marketing, securing its spot in popular culture.
Spindrift, on the other hand, is much newer, without the same market share and definitely without the same brand recognition among the general population. (It also doesn’t sport as clever a name. The word “spindrift” refers to ocean spray.)
Spindrift was founded in 2010 in Massachusetts and still remains small, with fewer than 100 employees. Its entire marketing gig is that it uses real fruit juice in all of its products, versus natural flavors.
The winner? La Croix wins in terms of brand history, clout and just overall popularity.
La Croix vs. Spindrift: Flavors
La Croix’s long time in the marketplace has given it plenty of years to develop a range of flavors. La Croix’s flavors include pure (aka, unflavored), berry, cran-raspberry, lemon, lime, orange, passion fruit, apricot, mango, grapefruit, lemon-lime, limoncello, coconut, peach-pear, tangerine, key lime, hibiscus, apple-cranberry, cherry lime, melon grapefruit, kiwi watermelon, pineapple strawberry and cucumber blackberry.
Spindrift currently offers 11 flavors: pineapple, lime, cranberry raspberry, half and half (tea and lemon), strawberry, grapefruit, lemon, cucumber, blackberry, orange mango and raspberry lime.
The winner? La Croix wins in terms of the overall number and variety of flavors available.
La Croix vs. Spindrift: Taste
However, number of flavors and taste are two totally different things.
La Croix, while having plenteous flavor options, doesn’t have that strong of a flavor profile. Some have described it as tasting the way static sounds. It’s a lot of fizz and very little taste or substance. All of the flavor comes from the very vague “natural flavor” ingredient.
Spindrift, on the other hand, gets all its flavor from real juice. This results in a stronger, more potent and, yes, more natural taste. You’re actually drinking the flavor advertised on the side of the can; the pineapple flavor comes from a real pineapple!
Many, many flavored sparkling water aficionados agree, when it comes to taste, Spindrift wins over La Croix.
La Croix vs. Spindrift: Caloric and Nutritional Content
Now, the reason why La Croix is popular despite its inferior taste, for many people, simply comes down to caloric and nutritional content.
La Croix comes with zero calories. It’s tastier than water and better for you than diet soda, and won’t impact your weight loss goals whatsoever. You can drink as much of it as you want.
The same cannot be said for Spindrift. Spindrift contains between three and 10 percent juice per can, which adds sugar and calories, so if you’re watching your intake of both, you might opt for La Croix over Spindrift.
Of course, the sugar and calories found in Spindrift are minimal, but they’re still there.
So, when it comes to caloric and nutritional content, La Croix wins.
La Croix vs. Spindrift: Price
But what about when it comes to price?
You can purchase both brands directly from the producers, online.
In terms of price, then, it’s a clear tie.
La Croix vs. Spindrift: Where to Find Each
But, of course, knowing the prices doesn't really help you if you can’t find these drinks in grocery stores in your neck of the woods (unless you’re willing to have either shipped to your home).
Spindrift, according to the brand’s website, is available at Costco, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, Target, Kroger, regional grocery stores, restaurants and small retailers, as well as online via both Spindrift and Amazon. The Spindrift website offers a handy store finder to help you find Spindrift in your area code.
La Croix also offers a handy store finder feature on its website, but you’ll hardly need one. La Croix’s brand popularity and long history mean it’s much easier to find throughout the country and around the world, everywhere from your local grocery store to your corner gas station.
When it comes to widespread availability, La Croix wins.
La Croix vs. Spindrift: Who Wins the Flavored Sparkling Water Crown?
When it comes to flavored sparkling water, who’s better: La Croix or Spindrift? Here are the results:
- History and Reputation: La Croix
- Number and Variety of Flavors: La Croix
- Taste: Spindrift
- Caloric and Nutritional Content: La Croix
- Price: Tie
- Availability: La Croix
While La Croix wins in most categories, though, some may argue that Spindrift wins where it matters — taste. And, since the two flavored sparkling water options both cost the same amount, there’s no reason not to purchase the tastier option, especially if you don’t mind those few calories and grams of sugar.
Regardless of who you think wins the battle, one thing’s for sure. Flavored sparkling water is here to stay, so you’ll have plenty of time to try both, and plenty more brands.
You might also be interested in: Godiva vs. Ghirardelli [A Chocolate Lovers Moment of Truth]