From The Founder

Dear Valued Clients &
Friends of Aqua Maestro
:

As I began to write the first sentence of this edition of FOUNTAINHEAD about our cruise last month, I suddenly thought to myself, “My God, I’m going to sound like every other Florida geezer, either talking ailments or cruises.” Forgive me, but I must.

Norwegian Cruise Lines has, without doubt, the best and biggest selection of fine waters on the high seas: Perrier, Saratoga, Apollinaris, San Pellegrino, Calistoga, Ramlosa, Sole, Badoit, Voss, Panna, Evian, Fiji, and Mount Olympus. In addition, NCL carries an extensive line of flavored waters and enhanced waters. Nothing like great water out on the water. NCL also did not disappoint with its outstanding service, magnificent accommodations, and food, food, food. The string of days at sea crossing the Atlantic was a true tonic – and we were blessed with flat seas. Highly recommended!

The summer, though not technically upon us yet, began six months ago in most of the southeast US. Droughts have been the order of the day, along with wild fires.

Lake Okeechobee, which backstops much of our local water supply, is evaporating. Mother Nature will come to the rescue, we presume, as She has done countless times since the modern geology of Florida was established eons ago, but until then the water crisis is acute. Severe restrictions on water use are the law of the day, and the lake is being closely monitored for changes in composition as the chemistry of the lake bed has begun to affect the water.

There is a silver lining – actually, in this case, a carbon lining. As tens of thousands of acres of lake bed became exposed from the drought, archaeologists found relics and remains from centuries ago. Which only proves that the lake has been in this condition before, recovered, and it will happen again. Of course, there weren’t several million people dependant on the lake back then.

Aqua Maestro’s galaxy of stars and entertainment world clients gained a nifty addition last month, as we supplied Sting and The Police with their favorite H20 for their concert tour. A certain Ms. V. Williams – you’ll have to guess which one – also got on board. Locally, our route trucks continue their monthly stops to household name players on professional sports teams. We’d love to service Bill Gates too, but he probably already owns some of the brands without us knowing it.

If we handled the Vatican, we’d probably be delivering Fiuggi 1 Liter, which is the June glass Water-of-the-Month. Fiuggi is a natural, oligomineral water that pervades tufaceous (calcareous and siliceous rock deposits) hollows beneath the spas of Fiuggi. In Italy, Fiuggi is prescribed for expulsion of kidney stones, and supposedly inhibits their formation. The US FDA allows no such claim, so don’t say you heard it from me. PS – Fiuggi, so we hear, is also effective against uric acid, which is the basis of gout.

Paired with Fiuggi as the June PET plastic Water-of-the-Month is Lauretana, in the .5 Liter size. With a mineral content of a mere 14 Parts per Million, Lauretana is the purest water we carry. Its fame and panache extend to Ferrari, the AC Milan Futbol team, and bicycle racing teams. And, although I believe every water is technically Kosher, Lauretana is certified Kosher.

Business in May was equal to April in our Retail Home Delivery division – which is excellent considering the cyclical nature of our Private Client sales. Wholesale turnover pulled back a little as we transition out of season in Florida and into season throughout most of the rest of North America.

Aqua Maestro has signed two stunning brands to its portfolio of exclusive Internet offerings. They are Saint Geron from France, in show-stopping tapered pyramid glass .75 L bottle (photo not yet available); and from Denmark, the incomparable Iskilde, also in .75 L (shown below).



The company anticipates receiving the initial stock in late June. Full details and the Product Pages will be put up on www.aquamaestro.com just prior to brand arrival.

As always, please feel free to email me at gd@aquamaestro.com.

Thanks – Gene


Welcome Aboard

Joanna's Marketplace
8247 South Dixie Highway
Miami, FL 33143
305-661-5777
www.joannasmarketplace.com
 
Simply Wine
517 S. 24th Street West
Billings, MT 59102
406-651-5985
www.simplywinestore.com/
 
Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
2800 South Ocean Boulevard
Palm Beach, FL 33480
(561) 582-2800
www.fourseasons.com/palmbeach
 
Marriott's Harbor Beach
Resort & Spa

3030 Holiday Drive
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
954-525-4000
www.marriott.com


Featured Water

Ty Nant

Roll the calendar back four and a half years. My son, Gene R. and I were in the process of opening a new company called Aqua Maestro. We had done months of research. The initial research was to determine basic cost structure and if the business model we had in mind could be economically feasible. When we were satisfied with that, the next step was to scan the globe for great waters.

Unlike our current large inventory, we opened shop in 2000 with a rather small, but diverse, group of brands. One of the first products we agreed on quickly was Ty Nant. We loved the famous blue bowling ball-shaped bottle. And the quality of the water from Wales was excellent.

Some things change – others stay the same. Ty Nant is one of those great things that hasn’t changed. Our admiration for this great brand, and its glorious signature blue bottle, are the same now as four years ago. When I finally had the opportunity, I visited the source.



The rural lanes of western Wales are an unending maze. Thank goodness for GPS in rental cars. Turn after turn after turn, and then suddenly, appearing out of nowhere (just like the GPS showed), I was at the driveway to Ty Nant. I knew the company had a state of the art facility, and their sense of style in their product and all their marketing materials predisposed me to expect something special. I was not disappointed.

My escorts were Nick Taylor, the person who runs all of Ty Nant for the brand’s Italian owner, and Simon Williams, the gentleman who had gotten Aqua Maestro started with them back in 2000. The elegant reception area had the chic feel of a modern office in northern Italy, displaying all the Ty Nant packages with commissioned artwork.



The Ty Nant source is an amazing story that will certainly raise a few eyebrows. “Ty Nant,” in Welsh, means, “house by the stream.” By the way, it is pronounced tee-nant, and the “nant” rhymes with “ant.” The valley is a plush watershed, but be assured that modern Ty Nant is not drawn from any stream or pond. When the original farmhouse was rebuilt in the 1970s, the owner wanted to find out if the property was situated over an aquifer, which is what he suspected. To do so, he employed a diviner.

“Diviner?” said I. “Indeed so,” says Nick. Divining rod in hand, the fellow patrolled the grounds until, apparently, he said something like: “Here it is.” And believe or not, there it was.



Nick Taylor was involved in the design of the famous blue bottle, having studied art and design before getting into the water business. The brand caught the eye of Italian beverage magnate, Pietro Biscaldi, and he bought the enterprise in 1996. Under a deal with the Welsh Development Agency, they invested money and the result is the state-of-the-art facility we see today.

The volume of production has grown so much that the water is now drawn from more than the original source, with additional quality bore hole locations having been subsequently “divined” – and there is slated to be even a further expansion of the bottling facility. Bore Hole #3 is where Tau, Ty Nant’s sister brand, is drawn from.

Total Dissolved Solids are a low 165 parts per million. The pH is near-neutral 6.8. Ty Nant has 22 milligrams per liter of Calcium, 116 mg/l of Bicarbonate, 11.5 mg/l of Magnesium, and scant .1 mg/l Nitrate content. The small amount of sodium, 22 mg/l, is just enough to give a slight flavor to this water that has become a modern classic.

To order Ty Nant, please call or email Alexis Donney-Brillinger – adb@aquamaestro.com - in the Private Client Division; and Shirley Costanza – sc@aquamaestro.com - in the Wholesale Division. Telephone: 561 392 3336.


Pipeline

What's that Penguin's Name?

Since our founding, the Aqua Maestro Penguin has been our mascot and logo. Don’t ask how it happened – or more accurately, why it never happened – but the penguin wasn’t given a name. All that work – countless public appearances on business cards, in commercials, at trade shows - the penguin never complained, even though he had no name.

One of our Penguin Club Members, Liz Buchanan, recently lobbied on behalf of the mascot, suggesting that one of her own Penguin stress relievers had somehow gotten decapitated, and perhaps he was suffering from an identity crisis. Maybe you’re right, Liz.

Okay, the nominating process is officially open. Please send your favorite appellation to Alexis Donney-Brillinger at adb@aquamaestro.com. The creative team will choose from one your submissions. And the winner will get a terrific free prize, including Water-of-the-Month, and a framed, “autographed” Aqua Maestro Penguin picture.

Is this Good or Bad?

A story in Fine Waters’ “Water Connoisseur” newsletter caught our interest. The article cites John Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest, reporting bottled water consumption in 2006, for the first time ever in a calendar year, surpassed the consumption of milk. This, despite the annual white grin by the winner of the Indianapolis 500 race (Dario Franchitti, on the Memorial Day classic in 2007).

Lest the milk lobby start feeling sad and lonely, Americans drank almost as much bottled water as beer in 2006. That’s probably a good thing. But steamrolling milk? well, that’s something else again. Makes one nostalgic for the days of 4:00 AM deliveries.

$12.5 Billion in Sales Forecast for 2010

Growth of the bottled water industry is projected to reach huge proportions in Asia.

In 2006, China, Japan, and India sold a nifty $9.4 Billion in bottled water, comprised of domestics, imports, and both domestic and imported private label brands. Sales will jump by about a third at the close of the decade.

The forecast, by country, is: China - $5.82 Billion; India - $1.61 Billion; Japan - $5.2 Billion. The scramble is on for market share as these huge economies embrace bottled water. Of course, in that part of the world, some of the consumption is driven by the need for safe, consistent, potable supplies, but luxury brands are also making inroads across the Pacific.

What do Kelly Clarkson, David “Big Poppie” Ortiz, and David Wright all have in Common?

If you guessed they’re going to make a new Country & Baseball hit record together – you’d be wrong. The country singer and the two baseball stars all got a little (maybe a lot) richer by being investors in Glaceaù.

The world-beater brand, which recently sold 30% of itself to an India-based investment company called TATA Group, for $677 Million, is the modern textbook success story in the Non-Alcoholic Beverage category. Actually, the key to their wild ride might be that they stayed away from textbook thinking.

Founded in the late 1990s by Mr. Darius Bikoff, who has proved himself to be the Michael Dell of the soft drink world, Glaceaù launched its hitherto untested concoctions – now famously known as the Smart Water and Vitamin Water lines – in small stores and bodegas around New York City. Their mere placement was so timely, the public so ready for these product categories, that Glaceaù literally flew off the shelves.

The company projects revenue of $1Billion in 2008, and Bikoff & company claim they have just scratched the surface.

Pro Stuff

Those who really want to see the latest, greatest, or just the best promoted in the bottled water industry, should mark their calendars for October 15-19.

The IBWA (International Bottled Water Association) will hold its annual trade show in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. The convention will provide seminars on production, new technologies, sales and marketing of bottled water, and keynote speakers addressing industry trends.



© 2007