Do you consider yourself a sparkling water aficionado? Discern the subtle taste between Pamplemousse and Melón Pomelo? Differentiate between seltzer and club soda? Then you are ready to rush La Croix Omega—the newest drink obsession. 

So what is so sensational about sparkling? The drink has inspired a cult–like following at the University of Pennsylvania. Students are hauling 12–can boxes from Fresh Grocer and even over the 38th Street bridge to stock their homes. And inside dorm mini–fridges, the beverage is occupying precious space once allotted only for Red Bull and Natural Light. No longer just a Midwestern household staple, the drink has now become a cultural phenomenon. 

Shiv–Louis Van de Ven (C' 19, W ’19) is a devotee of the drink. He always keeps his fridge full—currently with exactly 72 cans. “Since it’s heavy, it’s hard to carry up and down from Fro Gro. So I usually just Instacart it in bulk every time I need to restock or do a Whole Foods run if one of my friends has a car.”

Growing up in a sugar–free household, Shiv–Louis appreciates the drink’s unsweetened taste and prefers it over regular water. According to the La Croix website, the drink includes flavor only by the oils derived from each flavor's fruit. Sometimes, he needs a little extra kick in his La Croix.

“It’s also a really convenient base for other drinks. With a little lime, some source of sugar, you basically have yourself a really pleasant cocktail without too much effort.”

Within the sparkling water community, there's a heated debate over which brand is the best. New Englanders stay faithful to Poland Spring while Europeans prefer their Perrier. Shoshanna Israel (W ‘18), despite her roommate’s efforts to convert her to La Croix, would rather drink a different brand. “La Croix tastes very artificial,” she said. “Trader Joe's actually soak(s) grapefruit in their carbonated water.”

Penn's retailers has yet to fully catch on to the trend. Gourmet Grocer does not sell the La Croix brand. While you can find sparkling varieties of Dasani and Smartwater, true fans know this is not a perfect substitute. Pret a Manger is also getting in on the action, selling its own version of the water. Next time Penn wants to raise tuition 3.9%, it should consider cashing in on La Croix. 


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