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Imagine for a moment that you’re at lunch on an unseasonably warm Wednesday in February. A beer this early in the week simply isn’t appropriate, plus you’ve got to be back at work in an hour. You don’t want a Coca-Cola classic because no one drinks pop anymore for fear of diabetes or cavities. You could order an iced tea, but who the fuck drinks iced tea? Geriatrics, that’s who.
So what should you get? Sticking with tap water is always an option, but that’s just so mundane. A lemonade would be tasty but that’s got a bunch of sugar in it too. And then, out of nowhere, it hits you. Why not go for something with the carbonation of a soda sans all of that nasty sugar? The rush of drinking the soda is still there. The carbonated bubbles from a Perrier or an S. Pellegrino fly up into your nose just as they would with a Coke and Grenadine or Mountain Dew. And that’s not to mention the prestige factor that comes along with muttering to the waiter “Just a Perrier, please. And a lemon wedge if you’ve got it.”
Yet seltzer water has only just recently become a popular drink order. The millennial masses are seemingly conjoined at the hip to seltzer water and for good reason. The carbonation makes it less boring than filling up your 32-ounce Nalgene for the tenth time in one day, and the nutrition facts reading “0” across the board make it a guiltless libation.
Nothing – and I mean nothing – in this world screams class and sophistication like a well placed, 11-ounce glass bottle of Perrier poured into a chilled glass. I don’t know why Perrier has that effect on my psyche but it does. It’s just fucking classy. I see it at cocktail parties, banquets, douchey clubs, and famous movies right alongside the Dom Perignon and Stella Artois. Perrier is a drink for the elite. The water in that little green-tinted bottle just screams “I’m getting fucked up on backhanded compliments and offensive jokes tonight.” It’s precisely why I love it.
In a world where people have become obsessed with sparkling water, it’s important to note that not all seltzer water is created equal. It’s not fair and it isn’t just, but that’s simply the way it is. I was drinking a Perrier the other day with my lunch and someone asked me what I was drinking. They hadn’t heard of Perrier but had seen it before and asked me if it was anything like La Croix. I said no, it’s not like La Croix at all. It’s much better. The conversation ended shortly thereafter but it made me think a little bit about where seltzer water is headed.
The rise of La Croix is admirable, and they are certainly a force to be reckoned with in the world of seltzer – at least for the time being. But all of those flavors? I mean, sure, the Pamplemousse La Croix is incredibly bougie. It even tastes okay. They could have called that flavor “Grapefruit”, but instead, they went with the much more pretentious “Pamplemousse.” For that, I begrudgingly give them respect.
But just as the dipping sauce world is surrounded by gimmicks and fads, so too is the “old money” of the sparkling water industry. Perrier (and to a lesser extent, S. Pellegrino) is the blue chip of this strange little subset of bottled waters. And while I admire the La Croixs and the Ice Mountains of the world for trying to squeeze their way into the finer things club, I know they’ll eventually go the way of Surge and Crystal Pepsi.
Cute, but simply not a threat.
You can try to challenge a brand like Perrier but you’re never really going to win. And in that way, Perrier is much like Coca-Cola, isn’t it? Pepsi is always out-marketing Coca-Cola but do you know why Pepsi does that? It’s because Coca-Cola doesn’t need to advertise. They’ve got a better product. And so does Perrier.
Perrier is French and was invented in the late 1800s. It comes from a spring in the South of France and has higher carbonation levels than all of its competitors. Simply put, it is the gold standard of seltzer water.
La Croix? It comes in a can, was actually marketed when it first came out in the 80s as “the anti-Perrier,” and is from fucking Wisconsin. It’s clearly trying to sound French and one has to wonder why they would ever do such a thing. It’s curious, that’s all I’m saying.
La Croix is the Cousin Eddy of seltzer water. Perrier is Christie Brinkley in a red Ferrari.
And yes, even Perrier now makes their signature beverage in cans and you can buy a couple different flavors from them. However, it’s not like they don’t still make the classic 11-ounce and 750-mL glass bottles of the original stuff. It’s the snobs against the slobs, and while it didn’t quite work out for the elitist dickheads in Caddyshack, I can assure you that Perrier will not be like them. Fuck you, La Croix. You’re a fraud and Perrier will always be better. You can keep your millennial clientele and shove it up your ass. I’m a Perrier man. .
Image via Sezona Restaurant