Everyone's Talking About The New Topo Chico Drink. Here's Why

Topo Chico is the latest brand to jump on the hard-seltzer bandwagon. The Coca-Cola Company announced on its website that Topo Chico Hard Seltzer will hit markets in Latin America later this year. Infusing Topo Chico sparkling water with alcohol seems like a natural, given that the mineral water "has been popular with many mixologists," as Coca-Cola put it, including with the advent of the ranch water cocktail. The latest entry in the fast-growing hard seltzer market will reach store shelves in the U.S. in 2021, the Houston Chronicle said. Coca-Cola acquired Topo Chico, a sparkling-water bottler based in Mexico, in 2017. At the time, Topo Chico sparkling water's reach in the U.S. was confined mainly to Texas. Since then, Coca-Cola has expanded distribution and heightened Topo Chico's profile in America.

With the move to spiked seltzer, Coca-Cola is staking a claim in a segment of the booze business that is growing at hyperspeed. Thanks largely to the viral popularity of White Claw, hard-seltzer sales have grown 241 percent over the past year, according to Forbes. The playing field is getting crowded, though. At least 65 hard-seltzer brands are competing for shelf space, up from 10 at the beginning of 2018 (via CNN). The market is dominated by White Claw, with 60 percent of the sales pie, and Truly, which claims another 30 percent of hard-seltzer sales (via the Daily Beast). Recent entries include Corona and Bud Light seltzers, Forbes reported.

Coca-Cola hasn't sold alcohol in the U.S. since 1983

Beer companies trying to get a slice of the expanding hard-seltzer pie makes immediate sense. Coca-Cola, on the other hand, isn't known as a booze purveyor. The company hasn't sold alcohol in the U.S. since it dropped its line of wines in 1983, according to Forbes. The only alcohol Coca-Cola markets currently is Lemon-Do, launched in Japan in 2018. Coke's biggest recent attempt at world domination — er, market expansion — was in the realm of coffee. Coca-Cola acquired Costa, Britain's biggest coffee chain, in 2018 for $5.1 billion (via CBS News). The Topo Chico purchase one year earlier was peanuts in comparison, costing Coca-Cola a mere $220 million. 

In the unending effort to boost profits and please investors, soft drink companies are always looking to diversify and keep up with consumer tastes. The market for hard seltzer is expected to grow more than 20 percent per year through 2024, according to The Spirits Business. Coca-Cola gets 69 percent of its revenue from soft drinks (via The Motley Fool), a market that is growing at a rate of 6 percent per year (via PR Newswire).