Why A Sparkling Water Shortage May Be On The Way

America's thirst for carbonated drinking water — aka sparkling water — has boomed over the past few years, with health-conscious consumers moving away from sugar-laden beverages. Although Englishman Joseph Priestley accidentally invented carbonated water in 1767 (per ThoughtCo), sparkling water's evolution and its innovations (e.g., flavored fizzy water) now appeal to almost every sector of the beverage market. 

For a zero-calorie refreshment available in a wide range of flavors and without artificial sweeteners, the bubbly water has made drinking H2O more fun. Moreover, it's better for you than drinking, say, Diet Coke, for example. It's no wonder the sparkling water market worth was valued at $29.3 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach a whopping $67.6 billion by 2030, per PR Newswire. But with an increase in demand and current supply chain issues, there's growing concern about a potential sparkling water shortage. 

As the pandemic affected numerous aspects of supply chains, the massive disruption is hampering the world's economic recovery. Unfortunately, this is the case with one of the leading sparkling water brands, and fans could be looking at a severe shortage soon. 

Topo Chico is missing from shelves again

With a light taste of minerals, intense carbonation, and a softer mouthfeel, Topo Chico has made a name for itself by sourcing and bottling carbonated water in Monterrey, Mexico, since 1895. According to Business Insider, Topo Chico was acquired by Coca-Cola in 2017 for $220 million in a bid to enter the multi-billion-dollar seltzer market. The American multinational beverage corporation significantly widened Topo Chico's distribution and made it one of the leading sparkling water brands today.  

Like many other companies, Topo Chico has been the victim of supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A Topo Chico shortage was first reported in the summer of 2021, but many stores were able to meet the demand, as they still had bottles and cases in stock. At the time, a spokesperson for Topo Chico told KXAN that the company was experiencing a shortage due to "extremely strong consumer demand" and a "shortage of raw materials." 

Nearly one year after a shortage left Topo Chico consumers disheartened, fans are finding empty shelves once again. A spokesperson for the Coca-Cola Company said in a statement, "We continue to face tight supply challenges with Topo Chico mineral water and are working hard to keep it on store shelves. We appreciate our loyal fans' patience." Newsweek reports that water shortages could also be contributing to the Topo Chico shortage because Monterrey, Mexico — where Topo Chico is sourced — is experiencing a historic drought.