Austinites’ hearts were collectively crushed last year when Coca-Cola announced the purchase of Mexican sparkling water brand Topo Chico.
It was a move that made Topo seem just a little less cool, and many local business owners also noticed a subsequent rise in price of this once-beloved bubbly beverage.
Fortunately, a handful of locally produced sparkling water brands have been quick to step in. And let’s face it: Sparkling water remains a great way to keep us refreshed this summer. It’s a healthy, fizzy alternative to sodas and often comes in flavors that can tempt you away from booze, too. So here are those five bubbly Austin options to stock up on.MORE:Summer mystery solved: Does carbonated water actually keep you hydrated?
Waterloo Sparkling Water
It’s the Deep Eddy Vodka of zero-proof drinks: Waterloo, which launched in colorful cans last year by a trio of beverage industry superstars, boasts seven different flavors distributed nationwide. So far, grapefruit, black cherry and watermelon have all been bona fide hits, but the unflavored original is a solid alternative to Topo because of its gentler bubble profile.
The creators — Deep Eddy’s former head of marketing Brandon Cason, Treaty Oak proprietor Daniel Barnes and Mighty Swell Cocktails founder Sean Cusack — already have additional flavors in the works, including an upcoming mango flavor they’re projecting to be popular this summer. You can find cans in area HEBs, Whole Foods and other retailers, but keep in mind they tend to fly off the shelves.
For more information, visit drinkwaterloo.com.
The owner of one of Austin’s most beloved live music venues, the Mohawk, stumbled onto the idea of a locally produced sparkling water brand after weaning off a dependence on Diet Coke. James Moody needed mineral water for its carbonation but noticed only one option, not from Texas, available at his bar. Thus, Rambler was born, launching last year. The sparkling water, unflavored, comes in cans.
That it doesn’t come in flavors is not to say the base water doesn’t have a taste to it, according to Moody. The team behind Rambler took a lot of time developing the water profile, giving it a softness along with "refined bubbles." Best of all, a portion of the proceeds are donated to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation to help promote conservation of the state’s land and waterways.
For more information, visit ramblersparklingwater.com.
The masterminds behind this similarly new fizzy beverage brand came up with the name to make clear the effervescence of this canned water isn’t aggressive, so you can take a big gulp — so necessary in the heat of summer — and won’t feel like the bubbles are haranguing you all the way down your throat. Instead, Big Swig, available in an unflavored original and two citrus flavors, is "clean, crisp and crushable," as each brightly colored can notes.
Big Swig’s founders, Sean O’Connor and Ben Erwin, also own a local beer distributing company, Austin Specialty, and have the smarts to navigate the constant competition of a grocery shelf. You can find original, key lime and grapefruit Big Swig packs at HEBs and many smaller retailers like Royal Blue Grocery.
For more information, visit bigswigwater.com.
Richard’s Sparkling Rainwater
You can’t get much purer than rainwater. That’s the simple premise behind the Dripping Springs company that has been bottling "cloud juice" since 2002, when the trailblazing entrepreneur Richard Heinichen erected his rainwater collection facility he calls Tank Town. At first, bottles of still water were all that was available, but he sought to create a bubbly version, too — one that would stay carbonated overnight.MORE:Amid drought, companies tout bottled rainwater
It was no easy task. Rainwater doesn’t have any minerals, salts, pollutants and other natural and man-made contaminants, normally a good thing, but the minerals actually help the carbonation process. Heinichen managed his goal, however, and the undeniably clean and crisp Richard’s Sparkling Rainwater is a big reason business is now booming. The brand was also recently redesigned for a more eye-catching look.
For more information, visit richardsrainwater.com.
For some people, water needs to have a little bit of flavor, an extra reason to not just drink it, but relish it, too. This Austin-based brand recognized that a couple of years ago, just before the sparkling water boom, but it actually started with a line of fruit-infused (and even some veggie-infused!) still water flavors. Last year, right on schedule, a variety of bubbly options also hit the market in bottles.
There are four fizzy flavors, all made with real fruit: mango, strawberry, grapefruit peach and lemon ginger. The drinks have a mild taste with very little sweetness and lots of bubbles, according to Austin360 food writer Addie Broyles. They’re available at stores like Central Market, Fresh Plus, Wheatsville and more, and they’re very nifty as cocktail mixers.RELATED:11 Austin beers that will keep you cool this summer