Its delicate flavors and retro-design bottles made LaCroix sparkling water an unlikely symbol of the Millennial generation.
But LaCroix has lost a bit of its fizzle lately. A lawsuit filed last year questioned LaCroix’s claim to use “all natural” ingredients. And last month, Bloomberg reported that the beverage’s sales are in a “free fall.”
Now new trouble has bubbled up for LaCroix in Massachusetts.
National Beverage Corp., the brand’s Florida-based owner, does not have a permit to sell or distribute bottled water or carbonated beverages in Massachusetts. State law also requires companies that sell bottled water products to submit results of water quality tests “at least annually” to the state Department of Public Health.
In an apparent oversight, National Beverage has been selling the product in Massachusetts without having ever submitted the necessary paperwork to regulators.
The omission was discovered by Consumer Reports, when the publication requested the water quality test results with the hope of discovering what’s behind LaCroix’s apricot, coconut, key lime, and other refreshing flavors.
Ann Scales, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, confirmed to the Globe that the state had no record of a permit allowing National Beverage to sell LaCroix in the state.
The department sent the company a notice on June 4 calling attention to the missing paperwork. The company was given 10 days to apply for a permit, or face possible legal penalties, she said.
In a statement, National Beverage said it has applied for a permit to sell its product, paid the standard $300 application fee, and “are working in a good-faith effort with officials of the Commonwealth to promptly resolve this matter.”