Coca-Cola North America has acquired Topo Chico, a zero-sugar, zero-calorie, sparkling mineral water brand. The company’s Venturing & Emerging Brands (VEB) unit will bring Topo Chico into its portfolio to “nurture its storied history and century-old brand values, and bring the popular brand to more people across the U.S.”
Topo Chico will continue to be imported from the same natural source in Cerro del Topo Chico in northern México, where it has been bottled exclusively since 1895.
The Coca-Cola system has a long history with the brand. The first bottle of Coca-Cola in Mexico was bottled at a Topo Chico facility in the 1920s. Arca Continental, Coke’s second-largest bottling partner in Latin America, has bottled and distributed Topo Chico for the last 30 years.
“As we accelerate our evolution to a total beverage company, we’re investing in brands that are on trend. Topo Chico is a fast-growing brand with a lot of passion behind it and growth runway ahead,” said VEB’s Matt Hughes, VP of emerging brands, incubation. The premium, imported sparkling water category is growing double-digits, and Topo Chico has proven itself in a significant market—Texas—where it’s leading the category.”
Topo Chico is available in 35 states, but approximately 70 percent of its U.S. sales come from Texas.
“It’s a sought-after mixer thanks to its high carbonation and unique minerals. This has led to an almost unintentional phenomenon among the craft cocktail culture, especially in Austin,” Hughes added. “…It’s more of a lifestyle brand than a hydration brand.”
The brand also has a following among Millennial consumers.
“Topo Chico has a very loyal base of Hispanic consumers who grew up with the brand in the U.S. and Mexico, and over the years it has even garnered a massive Millennial following. Some really clever, honest and authentic marketing has helped speak to many different groups of people,” said Kellam Mattie, VEB VP of marketing and innovation.
Moving forward, Mattie says the company aims to “protect the prestige of the brand, which is authentic to its heritage and hip without being pretentious,” while also introducing the brand to more consumers.
A press release from the company seemed to indicate that it will keep current Topo Chico staff on board, continuing to operate out of Texas.
“VEB and Coca-Cola will serve as an incubator, and will be a guiding arm behind the growth of the brand’s distribution footprint,” said Hughes.