Vichy Catalan

We thought it only apropos on our return from picturesque Barcelona, to feature Vichy Catalan this month.

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.

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 here, 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.

Much 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.

With an astonishing 3,052 milligrams per liter of Total Dissolved Solids (the highest of any water sold by Aqua Maestro), there's nothing by way of minerals and salts missing in Vichy - except Nitrates, which are splendidly near ZERO. You get plenty of Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Bicarbonate, Fluoride, and Silica in this medicinal potion. Silica, for example, is at 76.8 mg/l, typical of all the other high levels.

Water Events
Report from Barcelona
After all the hoopla, building up to our excursion to the Premium Water Summit, we can finally report about the mini UN event. And, it was exactly that! With approximately 50 individuals in attendance, no less than 22 countries were represented. Bottlers and distributors alike from all corners of the globe convened on a mountain top overlooking the picturesque city of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea. First order of business is to give thanks to the three compadres responsible for this event, Michael Mascha (Fine Waters), Jan Bender (Iskilde) and Steve Rowe (Wawali). Job well done, gentlemen! Those who were in attendance know who we are speaking of, and those trade individuals who do not… well, should have been there! The mission of this new organization is to form a governing body, comprised of trade members, to set the standards, create public awareness, and promote the overall wellbeing of the premium water business. We have taken certain “liberties” to put this in our own words, but you get the picture. Keep tuning in for additional updates on the progress of this select group.

So, to all our new friends -

Fancy Food Show
We now move our sites to the Summer Fancy Food Show in NY City, June 29-July-1. This show always prevails as the ultimate in Food and Beverage exhibits. We usually attend just to maintain our edge and stay abreast of the latest entries into the premium bottled water industry, however, this year, following up on the heels of the Barcelona Summit; we have already been contacted by numerous exhibitors requesting a meeting with Aqua Maestro. We’re only too happy to oblige.

Brands in the News
Everything is turning up Green….Vgreen
Using the globally accepted Carbon Trust Methodology, Voss has evaluated their product lifecycle. They are now fully carbon neutral, which is accomplished by reducing what they can, and offsetting what they cannot control. Utilizing a handful of internal initiatives such as running on 95% clean, renewable hydroelectricity, reducing their plastic in their PET packaging, and 100% recyclable glass, they reduce their output. They also implement offsetting projects, such as dairy farms (here in the US, by the way) which reduce more potent carbon gases by combusting methane gas, and a wind farm (70 wind turbines) in China, thereby increasing the amount of clean renewable energy in a coal intensive nation. (Veldig bra….very good)

News Briefs
Norwegian bottled water plant opens
Norwegian bottled water producer Isklar opens multi-million pound plant in Norway - Web 21.5.08

PepsiCo Acquires UK Vitamin Water Brand
PepsiCo Inc. announced Wednesday May 1st, it had bought V Water, A London-based line of enhanced waters, giving it a direct European competitor to Coca Cola Co.'s Vitamin Water.

Nestlé Waters
In France, Nestlé Waters is reportedly to cut around 250 jobs at its Vittel and Contrexéville sites in the Vosges region.

International Bottled Water Association Board of Directors meeting
Visiting members of Congress and their staff during the June IBWA Board of Directors and Committee meetings become an important part of the bottled water industry's Government Relations program. This meeting begins Monday, June 9th.

Talk about rocking the boat…
There’s uncertainty about how effective extra water consumption might be for maintaining healthy organs and skin. Two University of Pennsylvania researchers, Dr. Dan Negoianu and Dr. Stanley Goldfarb have found, based on a review of scientific literature and published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology* (JASN) no single piece of research saying there was a need to consume what has been popularly recommended for years as eight 8-oz. glasses of water per day.

“There is simply a lack of evidence in general” that additional water consumption beyond basic needs provides additional health benefits in terms of organ function, skin health or weight loss, the researchers are quoted as reporting.

Remember, Aqua Maestro brings you these articles to keep you well informed with current events within the water industry, however, as part of that group who make a living selling water, well….shhhhhhhh

* Nephrology… a branch of medicine concerned with the kidneys

For those of you interested in digging deeper

Non-Carbonated Beverage Growth Seen in US Market in 2007
While sales of carbonated soft drinks account for nearly half the US refreshment beverage market in 2007, newer beverage categories, such as bottled water, are among the main growth drivers of the non-alcoholic beverage sector, according to a May 19 FLEXNEWS report which was compiled from data from the Beverage Marketing Corp. (BMC), a New York-based beverage industry research firm. The US market for all refreshment beverages grew by 1.1 percent in 2007. However, the growth rate of US bottled water was higher.

IBWA says new book ‘dilutes’ water challenges
The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), issued a media advisory on May 13 offering members of the media information to consider in light of the recent release of the book Bottlemania.

The book, known by the full title Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It, is a “narrative investigation into the commercialization of our most basic human need: drinking water.”

According to the IBWA, “Bottlemania’s focus on bottled water dilutes the real environmental and drinking water challenges and opportunities” and continues the book “used the bottled water industry as a launch-point for what could have been an instructive view on the importance of drinking water and environmental protection and sustainability. Rather, the book presents a misinformed, slanted view of the bottled water industry that will only confuse consumers who choose the healthy benefits of bottled water and misdirect what should be an all-encompassing, science-based approach to environmental policy.”

On The Flip Side
In The Believe It Or Not Category
As reported in AHN; Dean Kamen, creator of the Segway and robotic arms, has invented an eco-friendly water regenerator that can take nearly any source of moisture -- including ocean water, urine or sewage--and quickly turn it into safe drinking water. The device, called the Slingshot, operates by means of vapor compression distillation using cow dung as a fuel. It requires no filters and produces not only drinkable water but also a constant output of one kilowatt of electricity

For more:

Some water bottles will overpucker you
A dermatologist said drinking bottled water could be making us look older. According to Dr. Marilyn Berzin, dozens of women have come in puzzled by lines and wrinkles around their lips. It's a condition termed "smokers' lips" because of the similar pattern of wrinkles found on the faces of long-term, heavy smokers.

"When you're drinking from a water bottle, you're pretty much making the same face as you are when you're smoking a cigarette," Berzin said. "Basically, when you're smoking, you're pursing your lips. In this position, you're getting all the little ridges. Over time you get permanent lines that then remain and stay."

(Aqua maestro’s advice...Buy Premium bottled water, and use a glass, fortunately, drinking premium water from a glass, only leaves a smile….no wrinkles)

Cott Corp. Launches Water for Dogs
After nearly 18 months of research and development, Cott has created Fortifido Water for Dogs with four functional varieties. "Dogs are more than just pets, they are part of the family and owners want to make the same healthy choices for their pets as they make for their kids or other loved ones," says Dave Vautrin, vice president of marketing and innovation for Cott.
Each offering is scientifically formulated for a specific function:
• Healthy Bones: Vitamin-enhanced water fortified with calcium
• Healthy Skin: Vitamin-enhanced water fortified with zinc
• Fresh Breath: Vitamin-enhanced water fortified with natural spearmint
• Healthy Joints: Vitamin-enhanced water fortified with amino acids and minerals

For more info

On the technical side…
(or more then you need to know…)

The many flavors of drinking water
Consumers, utility personnel, water distributors and bottlers all use aesthetic evaluation as a critical tool for assessing the quality of their drinking water. In consumer surveys, the taste and odor of drinking water is an important factor for consumers, who associate good-tasting water with healthy and safe water.

The sensory properties of water are a combination of its chemical content and responses of a person’s senses. Flavor is composed of the five tastes (sour, sweet, salty, bitter and umami*), mouth-feel, and about 10,000 possible odors that are either inhaled directly by the nose or are directed to nasal cavities through the back of the mouth. Although consumers generally expect their water to have little or no flavor, people can detect variations in pH, mineral, and organic content of drinking water.

Several factors provide water with its flavor. These include: 1) the chemical and microbial content of the natural source water or mineral and organic matter, which is most influenced by geology and ecology; 2) chemicals added or removed during treatment or disinfectant; and 3) inputs and reactions that occur from packaging, distribution and storage. These three factors contribute to water whether it is from a public water system, treated on-site, or bottled and sold.

For more technical reading…

* Umami is a recent addition to the basic tastes. It is “a savory taste imparted by glutamate and ribonucleotides….” (the full definition is a lot longer)

To order, 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,

Water regulates the earth's temperature. It also regulates the temperature of the human body, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, cushions joints, protects organs and tissues, and removes wastes.

Most of the earth's surface water is permanently frozen or salty.

Water leaves the stomach five minutes after consumption.

1.1 billion people lack access to an improved water supply - approximately one in six people on earth.

More water is used in the bathroom than any other place in the home.

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