Around the 1900s, the White Rock brand was almost synonymous with “water,” says Larry Bodkin, president of Whitestone, N.Y.-based White Rock Beverages. It was even larger than Coca-Cola and Pepsi at the time, he claims. In fact, White Rock water was used instead of church-supplied holy water at Gloria Vanderbilt’s christening; White Rock was featured at the coronation of England’s King Edward VII; and Charles Lindbergh launched his historic flight from New York to Paris by smashing a bottle of White Rock sparkling water over his plane, the company says.
However, the company found itself at a strategic disadvantage when The Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo began opening local bottlers around the country, while White Rock Beverages continued to source all of its water from one spring. It was this water source that first made the brand popular.