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

Does Anybody Really Know What’s Supposed To Happen After You Get The Baby Jesus Figurine In La Rosca De Reyes?

Culture

Does Anybody Really Know What’s Supposed To Happen After You Get The Baby Jesus Figurine In La Rosca De Reyes?

alejandro.munoz.p / Instagram

Remember Día de Reyes when everyone cuts the rosca and hopes to god not to get the little niño Jesus? If you grew up Mexican, you probably know that whoever gets the baby Jesus figurine owes everyone tamales. But when is the tamal party? And most importantly—why? Keep reading to find out what El Día de la Candelaria means, what your abuelitas and tías are actually celebrating and how it originated —spoiler alert: it’s colonization.

February 2nd may be Groundhog Day in the United States, but in Mexico, and for many Latinos outside of Mexico, there is a completely different celebration on this date.

The religious holiday is known as Día de la Candelaria (or Candlemas in English). And on this day of the year, people get together with family and friends to eat tamales, as a continuation of the festivities of Three Kings’ Day on January 6. 

This is why your abuelita dresses up her niño Jesús in extravagant outfits.

For Día de la Candelaria it’s customary for celebrants to dress up figures of the Christ Child in special outfits and take them to the church to be blessed. Día de la Candelaria is traditionally a religious and family celebration, but in some places, such as Tlacotalpan, in the state of Veracruz, it is a major fiesta with fairs and parades.

February 2nd is exactly forty days after Christmas and is celebrated by the Catholic church as the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin.

Alternatively, this day also counts as the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. The origin of this religious feast day comes from ancient Jewish tradition. According to Jewish law, a woman was considered unclean for 40 days after giving birth, and it was customary to bring a baby to the temple after that period of time had passed. So the idea is that Mary and Joseph would have taken Jesus to the temple to be blessed on February second, forty days after his birth on December 25.

The tradition goes back to around the 11th Century in Europe.

People typically took candles to the church to be blessed as part of the celebration. This tradition was based on the biblical passage of Luke 2:22-39 which recounts how when Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple, a particularly devout man named Simeon embraced the child and prayed the Canticle of Simeon: “Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” The reference to the light inspired the celebration of the blessing of the candles.

In Mexico Día de la Candelaria is a follow-up to the festivities of Three Kings Day on January 6th.

On Día De Reyes, when children receive gifts, families and friends gather together to eat Rosca de Reyes, a special sweet bread with figurines of a baby (representing the Child Jesus) hidden inside. The person (or people) who received the figurines on Three Kings Day are supposed to host the party on Candlemas Day. Tamales are the food of choice.

This tradition also carries Pre-Hispanic roots.

After the Spanish conquistadors introduced the Catholic religion and masked indigenous traditions with their own, to help spread evangelization, many villagers picked up the tradition of taking their corn to the church in order to get their crops blessed after planting their seeds for the new agricultural cycle that was starting. They did this on February 2, which was the eleventh day of the first month on the Aztec calendar —which coincidentally fell on the same day as the Candelaria celebration. It’s believed that this is why, to this day, the celebratory feast on February 2 is all corn-based —atole and tamales.

This date is special for other reasons too… 

February 2, marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, which aligns with the pagan holiday of Imbolc. Since ancient times, this date was thought to be a marker or predictor of the weather to come, which is why it is also celebrated as Groundhog Day in the United States. There was an old English saying that went “if Candlemas be fair and bright, Winter has another flight. If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Winter will not come again.” In many places, this is traditionally seen as the best time to prepare the earth for spring planting.

In Perú the Fiesta de la Candelaria is a festival in honor of the Virgin of Candelaria, patron saint of the city of Puno and it is one of the biggest festivals of culture, music, and dancing in the country.

The huge festival brings together the Catholic faith and Andean religion in homage to the Virgin of Candelaria. The Virgin represents fertility and purity. She is the patron saint of the city and is strongly associated with the Andean deity of ‘Pachamama’ (‘mother earth’). It is this common factor of both religions that brings them together for the festival. In 2014, UNESCO declared the festival an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The main dates of ‘Fiesta de la Candelaria’ are February 2nd – 12th.

El Chapo’s Daughter Is Using His Name And Face to Launch A Beer Brand After She Launched A Fashion Line

Culture

El Chapo’s Daughter Is Using His Name And Face to Launch A Beer Brand After She Launched A Fashion Line

elchapo701 / Instagram

It seems like everybody today is trying to get in on the alcohol business. Whether it’s The Rock with a new tequila brand or Ryan Reynolds buying a gin company, it seems to be all the rage right now that even “El Chapo” is getting his own line of beers. 

Say hello to the “El Chapo 701” brand run by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s daughter Alejandrina Guzman Salazar, who also is behind a fashion and lifestyle company built around her jailed father’s brand. The new line of beer, called El Chapo Mexican Lager, was unveiled for the first time to the public on Jan. 14 at a fashion trade show in Guadalajara, Mexico. 

“It hasn’t been released for sale to the public yet. I just brought some to display,” spokeswoman Adriana Ituarte told AFP, as the beer line is currently still waiting on government approval to sell beer in Mexico. The alcohol displayed at the trade showed brown, black and white labeled craft beer bottles with the Sinaloa cartel leader’s infamous mustache face adorned on them. 

Alejandrina Guzman Salazar’s company is banking on the idea that people will want to buy craft beer, labeled and named after her infamous father, at bars and markets in Mexico. 

Beer lovers won’t have to break the bank either when it comes to purchasing the new line of beer which comes in at 70.10 pesos, or about $3.73, for a 355 ml bottle. There is also the name of the brand, “El Chapo 701” which has an interesting meaning behind it. The “701” is a reference to El Chapo’s place on the 2009 list of the world’s richest persons from Forbes magazine (estimated at $1 billion). 

The “El Chapo” beer is expected to have a large fan base due to the notoriety of the imprisoned drug cartel leader and a growing market for collectible celebrity alcoholic beverages like these. The company is hoping that, besides just the name and branding of the beer, fans will actually enjoy the drink and keep coming back to it.

“I don’t know if we take the label off and the beer is good if it’s going to sell,’  Ituarte told the Daily Mail. “But obviously the brand gives the plus of sale, we continue with the idea that we are selling and as long as the product is good, people buy it and like it.”

Ituarte said at the trade show that the product will be sold at bars throughout Mexico that also sell stock craft beer, a market that has flourished in Mexico City in recent years due to the growth of microbreweries. The lager was produced by La Chingonería, a Mexico City-based brewery company. 

“This is an artisanal beer, with 4 percent alcohol. This prototype is a lager, and it’s made up of malt, rice, and honey so it’s good,” Ituarte told Daily Mail. “And the idea is for it to be sold at bars that stock craft beer.”

This is not the first time that “El Chapo” has seen his name being cashed in on by his family. There has been a clothing and accessories line made in tribute of Guzman.

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@granexpoventa @lalalaladyboss701 @tulum

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Salazar’s company has already cashed in on her father’s name with a line of T items such as t-shirts, belts, purses, and jackets all adorned with imagery of Guzman and the 701 logo. The brand has been quite successful in under a year of going public which shows the power of “El Chapo’s” name. 

Salazar isn’t the only one getting in on the drug lord’s name. Last March Guzmán’s wife, Emma Coronel, launched a fashion and leisurewear line, licensed by her husband. “I’m very excited to start this project, which was based on ideas and concepts that my husband and I had years ago,” Coronel told CNN in a statement at the time of the launch. “It is a project dedicated to our daughters.”

These dedicated “El Chapo” brands show the notoriety and the power of his name when it comes to marketing. If this new beer line is anything like the clothing and accessories already released under his name, there is sure to be a market for this too. 

Guzman is currently serving a life sentence at a supermax prison in Colorado after being convicted on drug trafficking and weapons charges in 2019. El Chapo was forced to forfeit $12.6 billion as part of his punishment.

READ: California Man Is Using His Culture To Create Hilarious And Super Relevant Mexican Greet Cards