The sparkling water shelf at the grocery store is starting to get crowded — Topo Chico! LaCroix! Good old Perrier! — but a new locally based brand called Waterloo is betting on your thirst for it.
Waterloo Sparkling Water is launching nationwide early next month at all Whole Foods locations and will quickly expand into other stores. Like competitor LaCroix, the fizzy water will come in colorful cans of seven different flavors: Original, Black Cherry, Watermelon, Coconut, Lemon, Lime and Grapefruit.
Each of the flavors, best of all for people who like the pop and fizz but not the high sugar content of soda, have zero calories and no sugar.
And they’re coming from three beverage industry superstars: Waterloo’s co-founders have worked at or created Deep Eddy Vodka, Treaty Oak Brewing & Distilling, and Mighty Swell Sparkling Cocktails. Former Deep Eddy Vodka head of marketing Brandon Cason, Treaty Oak proprietor Daniel Barnes and Mighty Swell founder Sean Cusack see sparkling water as the next hot beverage trend.
“We know (consumers) want healthier products without having to sacrifice taste,” Cason, who doubles as Waterloo’s chief marketing officer, noted in a press release.
From flavored vodka to flavored sparkling water? He might be onto something.
Mighty Swell, the brainchild of Cusack, launched last year as a set of sparkling wine cocktails in cans. They have similarly been riding the wave of a separate drinks trend, ready-to-drink beverages, which are still exploding onto the marketplace much as sparkling water is.
When Waterloo hits Whole Foods store in early September, it may soon be joined by a locally based competitor — Rambler Sparkling Water.
Also in cans, the Texas limestone-filtered water, produced at Austin Beerworks’ massive new facility, was announced this spring but doesn’t seem to have been launched yet. The brand’s backers, which include the Mohawk venue owner James Moody, said at the time they were aiming for a late summer release.
On a smaller scale, there’s also Austin-based Sway Sparkling Water, which our food writer Addie Broyles taste-tested this spring and noted that the flavors have “very little sweetness and lots of bubbles.”
In addition to Cason, Barnes and Cusack, Waterloo has gotten backing from two other big names in the beverage world.
Clayton Christopher — who you might recognize as the co-founder of Sweet Leaf Tea and Deep Eddy Vodka, both since sold to massive corporations — and his business partner Rohan Oza are supporting Waterloo through their venture capital firm CAVU. Oza is the marketing guru behind Vitaminwater and the newest upcoming judge on ABC's “Shark Tank.”
The 12-pack cans of Waterloo (named, of course, for the 1830s-era Texas village that would later become Austin) will have a target price point of $5.99.