Culture

Topo Chico Is Being Rolled Out Nationwide Because Coke Is Trying To Get Into The Sparkling Water Game

It’s safe to say that sparkling water is having a moment. Whether it’s LaCroix or Pepsi’s new sparkling water, Bubly, it’s hard to miss the fizzy drink sensation that has taken over mini-fridges and supermarkets across the country. Now it seems that Coke wants to capitalize on the trend and cash in on fizzy drink craze.

Their secret weapon is Topo Chico, a drink that is sourced from a limestone spring concealed under a mountain in northeastern Mexico. The drink was built on a legend of the thermal waters of the Cerro del Topo Chico, which is where the drink got its name. The story goes that the hidden spring water cured an Aztec princess’ illness. While there’s no way to verify the myth, Topo Chico indeed does come from the same underground spring since 1895.

Coke is rolling out Topo Chico nationally. However, many are asking, will it lose its soul in the process?

Credit: @tictoc / Twitter

While the brand has been mostly known in northern Mexico and a handful of U.S. states, it’s already carved out a niche market that has made it a cult favorite in places like Austin, Texas. Popular for it’s “throwback image” and cool design, Topo Chico has seen massive growth, over the last year U.S. sales jumped 39 percent to nearly $130 million, according to data from IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm.

This could be credited to Coke’s $220 million purchase of the brand two years ago. While Topo Chico was originally owned by Arca, the second-biggest Coca-Cola bottler in Latin America, it’s still in charge on bottling the drink in Mexico. The company has also invested close to $42 million into production and operation to satisfy growing customer demand since Coke acquired the brand. 

Many saw Coke’s purchase of the brand as a way for the beverage company to enter the growing sparkling water business or rather match up with Pepsi’s popular new drink, Bubly. Since being launched a little over a year ago, Bubly has been a leader in sales and in growth as the company has put the drink in vending machines across the country. It’s even taken on popular millennial brand, LaCroix. Yet, Coke entering the sparkling water game could change the playing field entirely. 

The purchase of Topo Chico didn’t come without a bit of resistance from long-time customers and locals who love the brand.

 Credit: @topochico / Twitter

Topo Chico has deep roots in the Southwest part of the U.S. and in Mexico. So when Coke got involved, things got a little personal between fans of the drink and the giant soda company. Whether that was due to the increased price of the drink or just simply not giving money to a giant corporate entity like Coke, there was boycotts and some anger from Texans. 

Ramon Maraboto, who oversees the Topo plant for Arca, told Bloomberg that Coke needs to be wary of rolling out the beloved drink and not losing sight of what makes it special. That uniqueness and the original look are what made the fizzy drink so beloved among fans.

“Coca-Cola is aware they’re buying a brand that needs to be taken care of,” Maraboto said. “This brand has its own fingerprint.”

Keeping that mystique and coolness with the drink is one of Coke’s biggest challenges. That’s why the company is doing a small national rollout of the beverage with efforts to preserve some of that Mexican background and nostalgia that many love about Topo Chico. 

“We don’t want to lose that by putting it everywhere,” Chaly Moyen, who oversees Coke’s strategy in the U.S. and Canada, told Bloomberg

Don’t be surprised if you see a pack of Topo Chico at a grocery market near you soon.

Credit: @business / Twitter

Coke sees Topo Chico becoming the new “it” brand when it comes to sparkling water. According to Maraboto, Topo Chico sales in the U.S. could pass it’s own in Mexico in the next year. This is an example of that quick growth and advancement the drink has had in the quick two years under new ownership. 

Even in Pahoa, a town with a population of about 1,000 people located in the southeast corner of Hawaii’s Big Island, the Island Naturals Market & Deli has sold the drink for the past three months. Kai Sorte, the store’s manager, told Bloomberg that the drink is already among its top sellers. People can’t get enough of it and there seem to be no signs of slowing down. 

“It’s definitely picking up speed,” Sorte said.

READ: A Woman Threw A Lowrider-Themed Party For Her Son’s First Birthday And It’s Just Too Much For Our Hearts

Tamales Elena Is About To Become LA’s First Afro-Mexican Restaurant

Culture

Tamales Elena Is About To Become LA’s First Afro-Mexican Restaurant

tamaleselenayantojitos / Instagram

The Los Angeles food truck Tamales Elena y Antojitos has been serving up authentic Guerrero food for 20 years. Tamales Elena y Antojitos is a staple at E 110th St. & Wilmington Ave. in LA’s Watts neighborhood offering up banana leaf-wrapped tamales. Now, Tamales Elena y Antojitos will become a restaurant.

Tamales Elena y Antojitos is opening up LA’s first Afro-Mexican restaurant.

Not even a pandemic will slow them down. The family behind the famous food truck in Watts will soon be welcoming guests (following COVID-19 guidelines) in Bell Gardens, California. The tamales, pozoles, and array of Afro-Mexican dishes will be served to everyone who has come to adore the Mexican establishment.

The restaurant will add another cuisine to the vast palate that is LA’s food scene.

Los Angeles is home to a diverse and inviting list of restaurants representing cultures from around the world. Some of the best Mexican food in the country can be found in Los Angeles and Tamales Elena y Antojitos is adding another level to that representation. Angelenos are celebrating the Afro-Mexican restaurant staffed and owned by Afro-Mexicans.

The restaurant has a special place in people’s lives.

The family has been offering up their unique food to residents of Watts for 20 years. In two weeks, Maria Elena Lorenzo will be offering up her family recipes in-store to more people as of July 15. The family has spent years in the food industry and have worked hard to make their mark on LA’s food scene.

Lorenzo’s daughters have been played a big role in getting the restaurant going.

According to LA Eater, Lorenzo’s daughters have spent years working in various restaurants around Los Angeles. Her daughters, Maria, Heidi, Judepth, Teresa, and Nayeli spent time working front-of-house and back-of-house at restaurants including Rivera, Petty Cash Taqueria, and Guerrilla Tacos. Heidi Irra worked at Mezcalero in downtown Los Angeles. Now, the daughters are bringing their experience to the family business and helping their mother start her restaurant.

Lorenzo, lovingly known as Mama, is clearly going to have a lot of guests are her restaurant.

Congratulations, Mama! This is one of those stories we love to see. Nothing makes you prouder than watching Latino families come together to chase the American Dream and succeed.

READ: Guelaguetza, One Of LA’s Most Iconic Mexican Restaurants, Is Sharing Some Of Their Recipes On Instagram

Little Caesars Hands Customer Pizza With Pepperoni Swastika Made As ‘Insensitive Joke’

Things That Matter

Little Caesars Hands Customer Pizza With Pepperoni Swastika Made As ‘Insensitive Joke’

@LaskaMisty / Twitter

One Ohio couple recently received an order for a pizza that’ll leave a pretty rancid taste in your mouth.

After running errands with his wife Misty Laska this past Saturday night, Jason Laska said they picked up a pepperoni pizza from Little Caesars. Eager to eat they cracked open the pizza once they got home, receiving a shocking surprise that likely ruined their appetite.

Misty noticed a backward laid swastika made out of pepperoni slices on the pie.

After getting in touch with Little Caesars, the couple was told it was meant to be a funny and private joke.

According to The New York Times, when Misty Laska first opened the takeaway pizza she noticed that it was not sliced. Then, she and her husband realized that the pepperoni pieces had been prepared in the shape of a swastika.

Misty told Reuters that when they first realized what they saw they were “just silent.” Furious, they returned to the store to return the pizza, the shop was closed. The next day, the pizza chain, which is the third-largest in the country called, to apologize.

“We have zero tolerance for racism and discrimination in any form, and these franchise store employees were immediately terminated,” Little Caesars told The New York Times. “This conduct is completely against our values.”

“That’s why it was not cut or anything like that,” Jason Laska said. “They made it as a joke and it was never intended to go out to a customer.”

However, even if the joke was meant to be a private one it is gross and unacceptable.

“Even in a joking manner, it’s absolutely unacceptable,” Jason Laska added.

Jill Proctor, a spokesperson for Little Caesars confirmed the incident and said that the employees involved were fired in a statement to CNN. “We have zero tolerance for racism and discrimination in any form, and these franchise store employees were immediately terminated. We’re deeply disappointed that this happened, as this conduct is completely against our values,” Proctor continued. “We have also reached out to the customer to discuss this personally with him.”

In response to the firing of the employees, Misty has said she hopes they are learning an important lesson.”These are the kinds of things that are continuing to fuel the hate and the confusion that exists in the country and in the world,” her husband said after sharing that they both hope

The Laskas hoped that by sharing their experience others will educate themselves about Nazism and the symbols used to perpetuate it.