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close up of the logo on a bottle of Topo Chico sparkling water

Topo Chico: Not Your Average Fizzy Soda

From family gatherings to the mornings after parties, Topo Chico sparkling water is an ever-present Mexican icon with a fascinating history.

As a proud Latino, I have a deep appreciation for the cultural importance of food and its role in our communities. The phrase "Una barriga llena, corazón contento" is a popular saying that perfectly captures the joy and fulfillment that comes with a full belly.

In Latin America, lunch and dinner are cherished moments that are meant to be shared with loved ones. These meals bring us together, fostering strong relationships and creating lasting memories.

I grew up in the bustling city of Mexico City, where Sundays were often spent at my grandmother's house.

My siblings and I would play with our cousins for hours on end, while the adults chatted over café de olla and caught up. But the highlight of the day was always lunch, where a bountiful spread was laid out for everyone to enjoy.

The table was never without a variety of drinks, ranging from flavored waters to sodas like Coca-Cola. However, none stick in my memory quite like Topo Chico does.

The Myth of Topo Chico

When you walk into a Latino household or attend a celebration, there's a strong chance you'll find a bottle of Topo Chico sparkling water on the table.

This proudly Mexican brand has become a staple in the community, known for its distinctive flavor and unique history.

The name "Topo Chico" (meaning "little mole") originates from the Cerro del Topo Chico mountain, near a spring in Monterrey, Mexico, from where the brand sources it water.

But the real story behind Topo Chico lies in its original logo, rooted in Aztec legend that dates back to the 15th century. So, get comfy, pour yourself a coffee, and settle in for story time.

The story goes that when the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma I's daughter fell ill, a priest recommended she visit a warm spring near the Cerro del Topo Chico. After drinking and bathing in the water, the girl was said to be instantly cured.

I've no doubt this myth has contributed to the belief that Topo Chico has various health benefits. To be honest, the belief has its foundations: the sparkling water contains minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and manganese, which aid in digestion, kidney function, and bone metabolism.

In Mexico, it's also commonly known as a cure for un mal crudo (hangover), hence its ubiquitous presence on the morning after a good party.

 shelves stacked with cases of Topo Chico sparkling water

How Topo Chico Became a Worldwide Phenomenon

Topo Chico has come a long way since its humble beginnings at the base of Cerro del Topo Chico in Monterrey. Its story is one of perseverance, hard work, and the unwavering spirit of the Latin American people. And it has stood the test of time.

In its infancy, the company faced unprecedented challenges, due to the uncertain political climate and Mexican Civil War.

However, with determination and a relentless work ethic, the brand managed to not only survive but also grow and expand. By the 1930s, Topo Chico was already making waves as the first bottler company for Coca-Cola in Mexico, before going on to inaugurate two more bottling plants in Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo.

But it wasn't just about expanding operations, Topo Chico also pushed the boundaries by launching new flavored drinks such as "Ginger Ale Topo Club", "Topo Chico Toronja", "Topo Chico Gota de Limón", and "Topo Chico Sangría."

These drinks, along with the brand's unique taste, helped make Topo Chico a staple in Mexico and among Latino communities in the United States, especially in Texas where it developed a cult following among bartenders.

As a Mexican, I am proud of Topo Chico's roots and the way it has stayed true to its heritage. The brand's history and the myths linked to its origins are testament to its authenticity. And its unique taste is like no other sparkling water. There's nothing like it to quench your thirst on a hot day.

But the story doesn't end there. In the early 2000s, Topo Chico merged with two other bottling groups to form Embotelladora ARCA SA, becoming the second-largest Coca-Cola bottler in Mexico. And in 2017, Coca-Cola acquired Topo Chico, taking the brand to new heights and making it a household name all over the world.

Topo Chico is more than just a sparkling water brand. To me, it's a symbol of the tenacity and hard work of the Mexican people. I am proud to have grown up with it, and I know that its popularity will only continue to grow as more and more people discover its unique flavor and authentic story. ¡Viva Topo Chico!

Astrid Longi

Astrid is a freelance writer based in Mexico. She has written for a number of high-profile publications, including El Heraldo de México, and began writing for Orgullo Latino in 2022. Her areas of expertise include Latino food and culture.

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