Bottled water brings a taste of Iceland to America
In an age of born-on and
sell-by dates, it’s unusual to think of old as good. But Iceland
Spring bottled water is glacier-sourced water that fell to the earth
hundreds of years ago, and its marketers say that makes it some of the
purest water on the market, free from the pollutants of the modern world.
The water features a low mineral content and the company says it contains
some of the lowest recorded levels of undesirable chemicals.
Bottled near Reykjavik, Iceland, Iceland Spring has
been available in the United States for more than three years, and has been
imported by Pure Distribution U.S. LLC, Orangeburg, N.Y., for the past two
years. The company says the brand has become the fourth-largest imported
brand in the natural foods and gourmet retail segment, where it does the
majority of its business.
“We are improving this distribution on a weekly,
if not daily basis, and hope to make it into the top three before the end
of next year,” says Eric Skae, managing director at Pure
Distribution. “We are also targeting the northern East Coast, in
particular New York to Washington, and are now available in many upmarket
supermarkets including D’Agostinos, Gristedes, Giant and Food
Emporium, to name just a few.”
In Iceland, the water is bottled by a joint venture
between Catco, which is a subsidiary of Egils Skallagrimsson, and U.S.
company P.U.R.E. Holdings. Egils is both a soft drink and beer company
— the second-largest in Iceland and the oldest, having being founded
in the late 1800s. Egils bottles Pepsi-Cola and Tuborg beer as well as a
variety of local Icelandic soft drinks.
Iceland Spring’s source is located in the center
of a 156-acre nature reserve called Heidmörk, near Reykjavik. With
security in mind, a 1.5-million-square-meter fenced-off security zone was
created within the reserve to prevent unauthorized access to the water
source. The company says its source is believed to be the largest fresh
water reservoir in Europe.
“Iceland Spring originates in the lava mountains
of Iceland high above Heidmörk as pristine rain or snow which fell
hundreds of years ago,” says David Lomnitz, director of Iceland
Spring. “Filtered through inert layers of lava rock (the
world’s best natural filtration system), the already pure water
trickles deep into the ground over decades, picking up a minimal amount of
soluble minerals, before emerging naturally from our spring.”
The company has rights to four 2,000-meter boreholes
located on the reserve, giving it access to water that flows at a rate of
1,500 liters per second. The water is carried through a private
stainless-steel pipeline to a dedicated bottling line at the Egils
facility. Iceland Spring’s use of the water represents about 10
percent of the spring’s capacity, which is shared with the city of
Current production at the Egils plant, which has been
certified by the International Bottled Water Association, is about 1
million cases per year, with a total capacity of 5 million cases. After
passing through a series of filters — 1, 0.5 and 0.22 microns,
respectively — the water flows directly into the filling line, with
no further processing. It is filled into 0.33-, 0.5-, 1- and 1.5-liter
bottles for distribution in a number of markets, including the United
States, Japan, Denmark, Kuwait, Thailand, the Netherlands and the United
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