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Welcome to the new reality of supply chain issues. First it was masks, cleaning supplies, and toilet paper – and now there are even shortages in upholstery foam due to the Texas freeze last February. Cars can’t get microchips; housing builders can’t get the appliances they need, and now Topo Chico is running out across the country. Granted, there are more important things to be concerned about, but for Topo Chico lovers out there, this is definitely salt in the supply-chain-wound.

Topo Chico is a naturally sparkling mineral water that comes from an ancient source deep within the earth in Monterrey, Mexico. It has been bottled at the source since 1895 and is known for its crisp, refreshing taste with a bold amount of natural carbonation. The name “Topo Chico” means “Little Mole” in Spanish because it bubbles up like a mole when you drill into the ground to extract it.

Why is this sparkling mineral water, which has exploded in popularity in recent years, having supply chain issues? Lack of raw materials. Add to everything else that is currently disrupted, there is a glass shortage occurring, and fans of Topo Chico know that it tastes best out of their glass bottles. But, I, for one, may need to track down some in a plastic bottle to tide myself over.

bottle of Topo Chico

I still remember tasting Topo Chico for the first time. I took this photo to send to a friend saying, “Try this!”

This story first broke in the summer, but with the Delta variant and the Infrastructure Bill deservedly claiming so many headlines, and large stories like all USA GM car assembly plants being idled from supply chain issues, a little thing like the short supply of Topo Chico didn’t get a whole lot of attention. But, now that empty shelves exist where Topo Chico bottles once stood in abundance, the impact is real, and it’s yet another reminder that all things are connected, including our favorite Mexican sparkling mineral water.

Empty cooler of Topo Chico

Stopping by a neighborhood liquor store, I was greeted with this empty Topo Chico cooler.

Topo Chico empty shelves

And, at my favorite natural, local grocer, The Turnip Truck, the shelves are empty where large bottles of Topo Chico are typically found. (They do still have a few single-serve bottles.)

Another reason Topo Chico is running low is because of the popularity of Ranch Water, which was summer’s biggest cocktail of choice, consisting of tequila, sparkling water, and lime juice. And, what better sparkling water to add to tequila than Topo Chico, right? With surging sales, the pressure on the supply chain was only exasperated.

If, like me, Topo Chico is the sparkling water that hits the spot the best — if you see a bottle when you’re out, grab it. Especially the large bottles. If you see a case, hold onto it. You may just be able to give friends the best holiday present ever, something they won’t have and can’t get: a big 24.5 oz bottle of Topo Chico, some tequila, and a bag of limes. Happiness in a box!

It’s also worth noting that the supply issues for most everything are currently being predicted to continue through the middle of 2022, meaning we will get back to “normal” and this is not a forever issue for glass, for wood, for computer chips, for metals, for furniture foam, and more. It’s just part of the crazy time we’re living in. And, next time someone talks supply chain, we all will be paying a whole lot more attention.

For now, we’re sorry to say to all the Topo Chico lovers, you’ll have to hold onto your hats a little longer.


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