Turns out that a cult-favorite seltzer known for its colorful cans has been sold illegally in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts — until this week. LaCroix, in all its bubbly glory, has been available across the state, contending with local favorite Polar for a share of the seltzer market, despite LaCroix’s Florida-based parent company lacking the necessary paperwork and licensing to distribute.
State law requires that companies secure a permit to sell or distribute bottled water and carbonated beverages, and those that do so must submit water quality tests of their products to the Department of Public Health. National Beverage Corp., which owns LaCroix, apparently never submitted the regulatory paperwork, meaning distribution of LaCroix did not abide by state policy.
A Consumer Reports investigation into distributed water quality unearthed the error, prompting the Department of Public Health to notify National Beverage Corp., which has since applied for and secured the proper permitting, nullifying its outlaw status.
Yet this is hardly a saving grace for the seltzer brand, which appears to be losing steam on its previous ascension to the top of the carbonated water pyramid: Recent reports indicate that National Beverage’s stocks are down 62 percent from last September, and despite past love for LaCroix shown in the form of flavor rankings and bathing suit designs, the decades-old brand now has more competition (not to mention a CEO who has faced sexual harassment complaints).
In Massachusetts, local companies Polar and Spindrift pose serious competition for LaCroix, with the latter arguably the largest contender for the market share and a regular on soft drink menus at dozens of restaurants across the Metro Boston area.