From The Founder

Dear Valued Clients &
Friends of Aqua Maestro
:

Response to our new Fountainhead publication has been gratifying. It seems that you all are interested not just in the happenings at Aqua Maestro, but also enjoy getting a view of the industry.

On a practical note, be aware that we use a canned software application that runs on our local network to do the distribution of this HTML document. We got a few reports that “bulk” and “spam” filters have prevented the document from getting through. I don’t really know what better way to do it, because I’m told that giving it to a third party for distribution would only exacerbate the situation. So please be on the lookout for Fountainhead, realizing that it’s possible the settings on your computer might interfere with delivery.

Aqua Maestro is currently engaged in talks that will result in some form of a restructuring to expand the business, and hopefully improve our distribution efficiencies. There are many challenges to moving a business like this up to the next level, and I want you all to know that we are hard at work at it.

Hurricane season is, for all practical purposes, over. Never have I been so happy to have invested in redundancy and protection systems that were not needed!

Our local South Florida “snow birds” are starting to flock back into town. We see it in the seasonal renewals of local private client deliveries, and we are delighted. Welcome Back. 

As with last month’s edition, our format includes:

“FEATURED WATER.”

“PIPELINE” – news from around and about the industry

“WELCOME ABOARD” – new hospitality accounts (hotels, restaurants, etc.) where consumers can enjoy Aqua Maestro waters

“WATER PIX” – digital photos sent to us by our Private Clients (let’s get going here folks – doesn’t anyone have a cool digital picture in return for a beautiful, free, gift basket?) E-mail your submission to adb@aquamaestro.com

Otherwise, things are pretty much status quo at the company – with one big exception: Alexis Donney-Brillinger, our Retail Division Manager, gave birth to her first child on October 27. Mom and son, William Noel, are doing great. Alexis will be working from home for several more weeks where she is electronically “plugged in,” and her in-office duties are being covered by Carla. We miss her here every day, but everything is running in a business-as-usual way. Congrats to Alexis!

As always, your readership and support is appreciated. Please feel free to email me at gene@geneddonney.com.

Thanks – Gene


Welcome Aboard

James Hotel Chicago
55 E. Ontario Street
Chicago, IL 60611
(312)337 1000
www.jameshotels.com

New York Marriott Marquis Times Square
1535 Broadway
New York, New York 10036
(212) 398 1900
http://marriott.com

Graycliff Hotel, Rest.
Spa & Cigar Co.

8 thru 12 West Hill Street
P.O. Box N10246
Nassau, Bahamas 10246
(242)302 9150
www.graycliff.com/


Vienna Bier Haus
660 Linton Blvd.
Delray Beach, FL 33444
(561) 276 5669
www.oldviennamenu.com

Beverly Hills Hotel
9641 Sunset Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 276 2251
www.thebeverlyhillshotel.com



Featured Water

Highland Springs

As with many of the ancient great brands, it is hard to place a precise date on the first time water was drawn from the source, in Highland Springs’s case, the Ochil Hills near what today is Gleneagles, Scotland. We know for sure that King James IV of Scotland kept a few flasks in his kilt as far back as 1503. And it’s likely that the native Celts were enjoying the same water as James, and us today, for thousands of years before that.

Highland Springs is something like the Evian of the UK – both in terms of its regard, and particularly in terms of its market presence. I had the pleasure of visiting the operation in summer, 2006, and saw what a big, modern, high production bottling plant was all about.

The modern Highland Spring's plant was christened by a member of Parliament in 1984. This followed the acquisition of the brand in 1979 by the Altajeer family, and they still oversee this quality operation.

Highland Springs runs four massive bottling lines. Their rate of output ranges from 16,000 bottles per hour up to 37,000 per hour, depending on the line and packaging. In 2005, the company’s output was an enormous 25 million cases.

The plant is in the village of Perthshire, and sits to the west of the north-south motorway that runs the length of Scotland. The hills where the water is drawn cover a large area to the east of the motorway. We jumped in one of the company’s Land Rovers, crossed over, and went to see the protected springs and collection stations.

Three 3” and one 8” stainless steel pipes carry the water from the collection sheds approximately two and one-half miles to the bottling facility, where the water goes into holding tanks. The water is untouched throughout the entire process.

Highland Springs is a very low TDS (total dissolved solids) water at only 136 parts per million. The main feature is 35 milligrams per liter of Calcium, and a slightly alkalinic, almost sweet flavored pH of 7.8. The water has 136 parts per million of bicarbonate, and nearly zero nitrates. All in all, a highly desirable chemistry. This glorious chemistry results from a long term filtration process of fresh rain water through the heather-clad slopes, and down into subterranean aquifers.



Aqua Maestro has carried the Highland Springs line since our founding. The brand is available in 1.0 Liter Glass – both still and sparkling – as well as in .5 Liter and 1.5 Liter PET plastic. Highland Springs is not just one of the great waters of the world, but because of the terrific economies of scale from its operation, it is priced very competitively relative to brands of similar quality.

To order Highland Springs, please call or email Alexis Donney-Brillinger, or Carla – 561 392 3336 x 100; adb@aquamaestro.com.



Pipeline

There’s $$ in “them-there” bottles…

Vitamin Water Founder, J Darius Bikoff reckons his Glaceau flavored water company – best know for Vitamin Water, and Smart Water – could be worth $10.2 billion in less than five years. Not bad for company that opened its doors just before the turn of the century. And Bikoff obviously is not the only believer.

Indian conglomerate,Tata Group, recently acquired a 30% stake in the Energy Brands (parent of Glaceau) for $677 million. Tata Group, headquartered in Mumbai, India, had US revenues last year of $1.97 billion, and global sales of some $22 billion. In America, Tata’s business includes Tetley Tea, Good Earth Teas, and Eight O’Clock Coffee.


Extreme Drinks to Roll out Aqua Vitamins

UK-based Extreme Drinks is about to launch a range of fruit flavored, vitamin fortified waters that contain no artificial anything. The slate includes: lemon lime, orange passion fruit, and raspberry. All of the flavors contain 33% of the RDA of B-complex vitamins.

Aqua Maestro already carries Extreme’s water from Buxton, UK, called Extreme H20 – a nifty .33 Liter, plastic flask with a unique clip to hang off your belt or bag. As our talks with Extreme progress, we’ll keep you aware of the possible availability of the new Aqua Vitamins at Aqua Maestro.


Bigger Bucks for Borsec

The economies of scale are not quite the same in Romania as they are in the US, but nevertheless great brands everywhere around the world are getting bigger, and better capitalized.

Romaqua Group, parent of Borsec, has committed 10 million Euro to improve and expand it s operations, as global demand has stepped up for this great high TDS mineral water. Aqua Maestro has imported and sold Borsec since 2002, and maybe our little contribution to the demand has added to their overall consumption projections. The company is forecasting 10% growth this year, and in addition to the US, Taiwan, and Israel, the company will be targeting new marketing opportunities in Italy and Hungary.

And it is fitting that Hungary should be on Borsec’s “hit list.” After all, it was none other than Austria-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef who, in 1873, dubbed Borsec “The Queen of Mineral Waters.”


What’s your Color?

A recent article in Beverage Industry caught our eye – in more ways than one. In its R & D section, researchers have identified the colors that most appeal to people, based on their age. Ready?

Children – Bright colors and excessive colors, especially reds, blues, and purples

Teens – Sophisticated and off-beat color combinations, anything that looks “now” and “”cool”

Adults – Soothing colors, including earth tones, but also refreshing or unusual shades of common colors

Seniors – Bright colors, but unlike children, the preference is not for excess, but for clean shades

You can be sure that designers of bottles and labels pay close attention to this kind of research. I think it’s pretty certain you won’t find very many brown-labeled New Age Energy drinks aimed at the 15-25 year old age demographic!


Finally, if you missed it last month - a good book on Fine Waters

And who better to write it than Mr. Fine Waters himself, Dr. Michael Mascha.

A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Most Distinctive Bottled Waters

By Michael Mascha; Quirk Books;
4-7/8 x 8-1/2 in; 192 pp Hardcover
ISBN 1594741190

"“Fine Waters introduces readers to the epicurean delights of water, sharing the ins and outs of the characteristics that provide various waters with their unique flavors, as well as recommended food pairings, stemware suggestions, and optimum serving temperatures for enjoying both still and sparkling waters. The book also provides tasting notes for more than 100 of the world's best bottled waters.

Produced in full color, with photographs throughout, Fine Waters is the first guide to this up-and-coming food trend.

Dr. Michael Mascha is a food anthropologist, culinary expert, and proprietor of finewaters.com.“

For more information, go to www.finewaters.com, or contact the author at Michael@finewaters.com.




© 2006