From The Founder

Dear Valued Clients &
Friends of Aqua Maestro

Change of season, change of pace, changing times. How we manage change is pivotal to what we do in our personal life and in business.

As Founder and CEO of Aqua Maestro, our recent sale to Global Beverage Solutions, Inc. changed my role from running day-to-day operations to strategic advisor. That, plus the continued direct stewardship of our Internet site, including related duties such as this publication.

Given the business restructuring, I anticipated major changes in my personal life – like starting later in the morning (most welcome), and not having to maintain a storyboard of ongoing logistical and managerial matters. Unexpectedly however, the days are instead starting earlier. It's the convenience of working at home. I have also become obsessed with making sure former management duties are being well performed, which has turned me temporarily into a detail freak. We are fortunate that my long-time colleague, Dave Hanna, accepted the promotion to General Manager ( He is doing great, and my anxieties are subsiding as I see everything handled. So now it’s time for a vacation.

This edition of FOUNTAINHEAD is a “first.” It’s the first time I have put the publication to bed before month-end, doing so because I am in Europe as you read this, having escaped South Florida for a few weeks. The only section appended in my absence is “Welcome Aboard.”

We chose to spend our money and much of our vacation time with wonderful long time client, Norwegian Cruise Lines ( Cruising has become very popular. The luxury of just unpacking once at a floating hotel, and the therapy of being at sea – ours is a Trans-Atlantic cruise – is a terrific value that uniquely offers the therapy of isolation from phones and faxes.

Aqua Maestro’s Water-of-the-Month selections for May are slated to be the new Voss 1 Liter PET package; and the glass offering will be Finè. We have long carried the smaller .5 Liter Voss PET, and we hope some of you start to take advantage of the superior value in the 1 Liter package. Finè is for the discerning connoisseur, and was the “Featured Water” in April FOUNTAINHEAD. As the exclusive US Importer for Finè, we are eager to get this elite brand better established.

For those of you who didnt see it, the May edition of Vanity Fair magazine has an interesting cover story. Entitled “The Battle For The World’s Drinking Water,” part of VF’s 2nd Annual GREEN ISSUE, Charles C. Mann offers a lengthy monograph on the current and projected relationship between fresh water supply and population demand. The environmental ramifications of exploiting new water sources, and the Chinese fresh water demand issue, are prominently treated. If the article were written twenty years ago, you’d think the subject was oil.

Incredibly, Mann asserts that “one person out of every three on the planet today lacks reliable access to fresh water.” The article is not an endorsement for bottled water or fine bottled water – but it is a short step to appreciate that this essential for life on Earth is imperiled, and those with the ability to consume the highest quality H20 are significantly advantaged.

As always, please feel free to email me at

Thanks – Gene

Welcome Aboard

Island View Casino Resort
3300 W. Beach Blvd.
Gulfport, MS 39501
Bissinger's Handcrafted Chocolatier
Central West End–Original Store
4742 McPherson
Saint Louis, Missouri 63108
Hours: M–Sat. 9am–5pm CST
Grove Isle Hotel & Spa
4 Grove Isle Drive
Coconut Grove, FL 33133-4199
(Tel) 305-858-8300

Water Pix

Water Works Restaurant & Lounge
in Philadelphia, PA

Send us your favorite (or any!) digital picture of your brand of choice at home, work, play, or at a restaurant - and a beautiful free gift basket from us to you will be on its way. You don't have to be over 21 (or 18, or 16...) to submit your pix.

Featured Water

Vichy Catalan

Qué Lindo!

How beautiful, indeed. The rugged scenery and landscape of Caldes de Malavella in Cataluna, Spain – the photo above looks toward the nearby city of Girona – has inspired visitors and health-seekers for millennia. Beneath this uniquely picturesque terrain are mineral water springs, none more famous than the legendary Vichy Catalán.

Something funny and wonderful happened on the way to the forum, the ancient Roman Forum, that is. The Roman legions, ever on the prowl for curative baths and spas, discovered a real winner in the rocky Spanish area south of the Pyrenees near the French border. It was special enough that they dug in, dug down, and built up an entire system of baths and recuperative facilities. The remnants of those ancient spas remain today as a tribute to Vichy Catalán, pictured below, which has been legendary among European mineral waters ever since.

Fast-forward through the centuries to the modern origin of the now internationally famous brand. The first few decades of its modern history begin in 1852, when Doctor Modest Furest y Roca, trained in medicine and surgery at the University of Barcelona, got involved. He was responsible for connecting the most advanced scientific thinking of his time with the mystique surrounding the ancient waters of Caldes de Malavella. In 1880-81 he purchased the property that included the renown thermal springs. Within a few years, his aim of building a "modern" spa establishment became a reality.

The waters were declared a public utility by Royal Order in 1883, and their use in bottled form was registered. The French argued that the word "Vichy" constituted trademark infringement. But Vichy Catalan's lawyers countered that Dr. Furest registered his trademark several years before the French, so the name stuck (replacing the simpler "Quality Water," the English translation of the Latin name given by Roman bathers two millennia earlier).

Dr. Furest dedicated his remaining years to spreading the Vichy gospel at national and international exhibitions. In the process, Vichy Catalan won the highest awards and recognition throughout Europe.

Mucho modernization has transpired since the 19th century, but the two photos below which are nearly a hundred years apart testify to the brand's continuity and pedigree.

In 1990, Grupo Vichy Catalán was created, consisting of the companies S.A. Vichy Catalán and Malavella S.A, both located in Caldes de Malavella (Girona). Vichy had the distinction of being selected as the water for the XXVth Olympic Games at Barcelona in 1992.

Of the many claimed health attributes, perhaps the most intriguing is Vichy's role in the regulation of lipids. In 2004, the American magazine "The Journal of Nutrition" published the study conducted by Dr. Pilar Vaquero of the Nutrition and Food Science Institute of the Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Higher Council of Scientific Research) (CSIC) regarding cardiovascular effects of Vichy Catalán water. The CSIC made public the results of a second study purporting Vichy Catalán's utility in lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol. These studies, along with others cited by the company (link contains an abundance of scientific studies and resources in both Spanish & English) appear to support the company's assertion. Consumers specifically interested in their cholesterol and triglycerides might consider the studies, and discuss them with their doctor.

Moms used to tell their kids that medicine tastes bad because it is good for you. While Vichy Catalan does not taste "bad" - it is the water of choice for countless gourmet restaurants and experts in cuisine – it is uniquely distinctive. If one were to analogize bottled tap water to the taste of a McDonald's hamburger, then Vichy Catalan tastes like caviar: distinctly strange to the first-time consumer, but delicious once its taste is acquired. As you'd expect, the classy European glass packaging bespeaks the classic content.

Vichy's one-of-a-kind flavor, the product of a complex 3,050 Parts Per Million overall mineral content dissolved in an essentially neutral pH of 6.8, instantly suggests the presence of other healthful properties besides anti-cholesterol. Similarly posited by scientific studies, other properties include efficiency in digestion, intestinal motility, the prevention of tooth decay and strengthened bone structure, and even an antidepressant effect from the unusual Lithium component in the water's chemistry.

The entire chemical analysis shows extremely high Bicarbonates at 2,081 milligrams per liter; Chlorides prominent at 584 mg/liter; and Calcium, too, with a good presence of 54 mg/l. It must be pointed out for those on a Salt-free regimen that Vichy is not recommended because it contains about 1 gram per milliliter of Sodium.

Two terrific elements for the human body (especially when they are in a naturally occurring state), Potassium and Silica, measure 51 and 77 mg/liter respectively. And Nitrates, for which the optimal number is 0 mg/l, are indeed Zero. Vichy also contains appreciable amounts of Magnesium, Sulphate, Fluoride, and Strontium!

Vichy Catalan is one of the rare breed of "naturally sparkling" waters. Hyperthermal as it emanates spontaneously at 60 degrees Centigrade (140 degrees Farenheit), it is wonderful to bathe in at the spa once it cools a bit (photo below), but it is best drunk cold. At 45 degrees Farenheit or cooler, Vichy imparts to the palate and tongue a sparkling sensation; and the composite flavor from the water's natural carbon dioxide, sodium, and bicarbonate has an agreeable, rich texture.

In September, 2005, Vichy Catalan received its highest honor from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism of Spain. The prize was given personally by His Majesty King Juan Carlos I.

To order Vichy Catalan, please call or email Alexis Donney-Brillinger in the Private Client Division – 561 392 3336 x 100; Wholesale inquiries should be directed to Shirley Costanza,


The Global Water Consumption Report

The picture above is better than a thousand words. Global consumption of bottled water has more than doubled since 1997, from 80,650 million liters to 178,040 million liters in 2006, and this trend started before water started being perceived as a potentially endangered global natural resource. The potential effects of global warming – which will decrease, not increase global fresh water supplies according to scientific accounts – have not yet impacted the consumption picture.

The USA is currently #10 in the world in “per capita” bottled water consumption. To make that placement more meaningful from Aqua Maestro's perspective, the overwhelming majority – well over 90% - of our domestic consumption is purified, or treated, water. It is not the high quality mineral and natural spring water that makes up most of the Western European consumption.

While Americans may not be first in “per capita” consumption, and rank abysmally low in mineral water, we are by far the largest consumers in total for the category. At 31,290 million liters, Americans consume 10,000 million liters more than the next highest nation. Now, if we only started to drink more of the good stuff!

New Product Introductions, by Category, in the Non-Alcoholic Sector for 2006

If you researched this interesting barometer over the past few decades, you would see periods when beer, wine, and spirits were the dominant new brand players. But today’s world is more health-conscious, and “greener.” Current new product entries reflect this change.

Cole Porter’s famous lyric, “I get no kick from Champagne,” is truer now than it was when he wrote it - but plenty of people are getting their kicks from designer coffees. In 2006, there were an amazing 305 new brands of coffee introduced to the American market. Starbucks may have established the contemporary upscale coffee culture, but it’s been taken to a new level by both smaller specialty retailers, and the vogue giants like Whole Foods (, an Aqua Maestro client, along with others.

Number one in new products, with 410 entries, was Ready-To-Drink-Juices and related juice drinks. Teas made a strong showing at 302 brands. Energy drinks had 151 launches in 2006, and the next biggest category was bottled water, with 140 new brands.

Wines and spirits, both enormous overall markets, had 122 new brands each. New beers were only 86.

Less is not More

Movie director, John Huston’s, famous line about getting more mileage out of a scene through less “acting” may be great advice for film making, but it’s the opposite of consumer trends these days in the beverage industry. More – meaning higher priced items – are showing the biggest structural growth.

In last month’s FOUNTAINHEAD, the article on Ready-to-Drink-Teas (“RTD”) revealed "super premium" teas as the fastest growing part of the RTD category. As we all know at Aqua Maestro, the “premium” and “super premium” bottled water category – nonexistent a decade ago other than old standbys like San Pellegrino, Evian, and Perrier – has seen a huge percentage growth.

And evidently the trend toward “the good stuff” has moved into the world of spirits. Consider this data: In 2006, the volume growth of “value” spirits brands was a paltry .2%; “premium” brands increased by 5.1%; “high-end premium” booze rose 6.5%; and the “super premium” sector soared by 17.5%.

In contemporary beverage consumption, "more" is more.

The "Drink of Gods?"

Unlike the Energy Drink marketeers who favored provocative names and merchandising angles (you might remember the PIPELINE article a few months ago that elicited animated responses from some readers), the fusion brands with energy and herbal properties have taken the high road. Some of the new names sound rather sacramental!

A new spiritual beverage from South America claims a link with “the Gods.” It is unclear precisely which Gods are involved, but nonetheless, one takes a second look at something this bold.

From Bombilla Gourd comes Matè Tea. It is referred to as “the drink of the Gods,” and contains “organic Yorba Matè.” According to studies cited by Bombilla, Yerba Matè has twice the antioxidants of green tea, plus 24 vitamins, and 15 amino acids. They say it’s a big mover in Argentina and Uruguay where people imbibe out of a shared yellow gourd. Yummy: "pass me the gourd please, dude."

Apparently, the Gods dig Yerba Matè because it provides energy without jitters, vitamins without stomach acidity, and a clarity of mind. Who are we to argue with clear-headed, vitaminized, energized Gods?

You Don't Have to Go to Paris…

…to enjoy one of the best assortments of fine waters under a single roof. Offering no less a variety than Chez Colette in the City of Lights, is Water Works Restaurant & Lounge in the City of Brotherly Love. We’re talking about Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.

According to Dr. Leonidas E. Agorastos, a partner at Water Works, Water Works carries 35 different fine waters, and features a water bar nonpareil. The restaurants historic structure is the old Fairmount Water Works, and media reviews praise its ambience and cuisine (described as “inspired Neo-Classical”).

Aqua Maestro supplies many brands to Water Works. We hope to visit the landmark restaurant someday and savor both the food and the great H20.

They are located at 640 Water Works Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19130. Telephone is 215.236.9000; fax #215.236.9100; and web site URL is Click the following link to see Water Works’ photo gallery.

If you visit, please ask for the good Doctor, and tell him your friends at Aqua Maestro recommended it!

© 2007