From The Founder

Dear Valued Clients &
Friends of Aqua Maestro
:

My calendar still shows “December 25” as Christmas day, but it seems like Christmas and the entire holy and secular season starts earlier every year. My favorite radio station in South Florida began playing holiday music a week before Thanksgiving.

I guess I shouldn’t complain. These holidays are the busiest time of the year for our Private Client division. And the “chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” “white Christmas,” and “silver bells” are lovely images – even if they you’ve never eaten a chestnut, live where it doesn’t snow, and never had bells around the house. (As a former New Yorker/Vermonter with three children, actually these were as “a few of my favorite things” once upon a time.)

As a time for “auld lang zyne” and reflection, Aqua Maestro looks back on brands, like friends, who left us – and those that joined our family of fine waters.

Trinity Water died a legal death. Some time shortly after the company changed hands, there ensued some sort of court battle – and no matter who won or lost litigating, the casualty in the field was the brand. Maybe some entrepreneur will go into the Idaho hinterland and breathe fresh life into this popular high silica natural water.

We will be discontinuing Llanllyr once our current stock is depleted. We love the brand, but their US distribution scheme was inconsistent with our business model, so we parted as friends. Who knows – maybe we’ll get back on each wave length in the future.

Vichy Catalan – “Featured Water” in this edition – made its long awaited arrival into the US market. Lucky for us, and so far, a very well received item.

Cape Karoo, the first water Aqua Maestro has brought in from Africa, is starting to achieve some market share. It has the winning combination of a stunning, frosted glass presentation, and superior quality. We are the US Importer for this great brand.

Finè, the Japanese delicacy, named Aqua Maestro as its US Importer in 2006. The first stock arrived this fall, and is moving well in the super-premium category.

Extreme H20 is a new brand aimed at a new audience. This excellent water from Buxton in the UK, comes in a clip-on PET flask. Extreme Drinks, the parent company, also has a “totally excellent, no doubt, dude” line of Aqua Vitamin, Energy, and Chill drinks set for the US in 2007.

As a special incentive, we have reduced the price on both Via Natural and Borsec. Via Natural is perhaps the sexiest PET package in our portfolio, and the Brazilian water is superb. But a few of the early pallets had loose labels, so we are told, and we want to push hard to get this great product from South America into its proper market share.

Emperor Franz Josef would not understand why Borsec, the Romanian specialty he dubbed “Queen of the Mineral Waters,” isn’t flying out of the warehouse. I can tell you it’s in my house, and I firmly believe it is a tonic as much as it is a water. Maybe it’s because it only comes in the large 1.5 Liter size – maybe it’s because the bottle is too traditional in its appearance. But there should be a much, much greater appreciation of this world-class brand, and we hope our new price incentive helps that.

As the previous edition of FOUNTAINHEAD mentioned, South Florida is back in full “snow bird” swing. December is crazy busy in our Private Client department – so I ask those of you in our local area to get your orders in as early as possible. Truck scheduling, and double shifts, will start to become an operational challenge as we get toward Christmas week. We always get the deliveries done, but ask for your help in smoothing out our fulfillment schedule this month. Please don’t wait till the last minute.

On behalf of everyone at Aqua Maestro, I wish you a happy, and safe, holiday season.

And as always, please feel free to email me at gene@geneddonney.com.

Oh – one more thing – doesn’t anybody want a free gift basket?? We still await the first digital WATER PIX. 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.

Thanks – Gene


Welcome Aboard

Sam's Music Bar & Bistro
2461 S. Hiawassee Road
Orlando, FL 32835
407.295.9999
 
J. Betski's Restaurant
10 West Franklin St.
Suite 120
Raleigh, NC 27604
919.833.7999
http://www.jbetskis.com/
food.html

 
Keating Hotel
432 F Street
San Diego, CA 92101
619.241.7585
1.877.7.KEATING
http://www.thekeating.com/
 
La Playa Beach and Golf Resort
9891 Gulf Shore Drive
Naples, FL 34108
239.597.3123
800.237.6883 reservations
http://www.laplayaresort.com/

Tides South Beach Hotel
1220 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33139
305.604.5070
www.tidesouthbeach.com


Featured Water

Vichy Catalan

The word “Vichy” is commonly associated with the region and the politics of an area in France. “Vichy” has also morphed into a product category word to describe, among other things, waters that share a particular high TDS character, and a long pedigree.

The current Vichy Catalàn was originally called Puig de les Ànimes, named after the thermal spring from which the water is drawn in Caldes de Malavella. Innumerable famous personages throughout history have drunk and bathed in this famous spa.

It was in May of 1890 that Vichy Catalán became the registered brand name, and their first formal on plant for bottling was inaugurated. The driving force was Doctor Modest Furest y Roca. Dr. Furest was born in Sant Pol de Mar on 20 February 1852 and graduated in medicine and surgery at the University of Barcelona in 1873, where he came into contact with the most advanced scientific thinking of the time. Then, as now, Vichy Catalàn was believed to possess unique health properties, especially in the area of lowering cholesterol.

Production and distribution of Vichy Catalán grew substantially up until 1936, but was brought to an abrupt halt with the outbreak of civil war when the company Vichy Catalán was confiscated and the spa turned into a military hospital. In the Post-World War II era, the spa and bottling facility were under the fascist regime, and its reemergence onto the world scene had to wait until the politics of Europe again shifted.

In 1990 Grupo Vichy Catalán was created. The Group’s products come under the most stringent quality controls. In 1996, the international certifying agency Der Norske Veritas (DNV) granted Vichy Catalán the ISO 9001 quality standard which certifies supreme quality with maximum safety guarantees throughout the whole of the bottling,

In 2004 the Vichy Catalán Spa Hotel was awarded the UNE EN ISO 9001:2000 certification for accommodation and catering, audited by the company Tüv, and also obtained the Q for Quality awarded by the certifying committee of the Spanish Tourist Quality Institute (ICTE).

The health-giving properties of Vichy Catalán water have come under study over its entire history. Recent investigations have shown that Vichy Catalán water has positive effects on the body in a way that was unknown up to now. In 2004, the prestigious 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) on the cardiovascular effects of Vichy Catalán water. The CSIC made public the results of a second study confirming that Vichy Catalán helps to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

Aqua Maestro is extremely pleased to feature this great historic water. Vichy has a very distinctive taste. It is a natural sparkling mineral water which has carbonic gas added to its natural state. Connoisseurs agree that Vichy Catalan tastes best cold, as the palate seems to enjoy the sparkling character that contains plenty of sodium – approximately 1 gram per liter – and bicarbonates of more than 2 grams per liter.

Chlorides are also strong at 584 milligrams per liter; Potassium is 51 milligrams per liter; Silica is high at 77 mg/l; Sulphate level is 47 mg/l; and there are interesting trace elements, including 1.3 mg/l of Lithium. Nitrates are nil.

To order Vichy Catalàn, please call or email Alexis Donney-Brillinger or Carla in the Private Client Division – 561 392 3336 x 100; adb@aquamaestro.com. Wholesale inquiries should be directed to Shirley Costanza, sc@aquamaestro.com.



Pipeline

New UNICEF Charity Campaign Encourages Payment for Tap Water

Just when you thought it was free…

The “NY Tap Water” campaign, a fund raising initiative launched this week by UNICEF, wants to heighten awareness of the water crisis currently gripping much of the third world. Their campaign is scheduled to coincide with the observance of the United Nations World Water Day on March 22nd.

There is a steady, growing awareness of the emerging crisis of high quality water as a global natural resource. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute (www.rmi.org/sitepages/pid15.php): “fresh, clean water is scarce and getting more so: of all the water on earth, less than 3 percent is fresh, and all but three-thousandths of that is locked up in glaciers or icecaps or is too deep in the earth to retrieve. Of the freshwater available in rivers, lakes, and the ground, an increasingly large fraction is polluted with biological, chemical, and radioactive contaminants.”

On March 22, diners at many of New York City’s top restaurants will be asked to donate $1 per head to, in effect, “pay” for tap water normally free. Proceeds will benefit UNICEF’s global clean water initiatives. Of course, diners who prefer bottled water with their meal are also encouraged to contribute!


Canada Church Preaches “No Bottled Water!”

Talk about crossing the line between church and state…

The United Church of Canada is advising its 560,000+ congregation to stop buying bottled water. Richard Chambers, UCC’s social policy coordinator, states that the church’s mission is to illustrate its concern about moral issues surrounding the “privatization of water”.


Meanwhile (back at the corporate ranch), Nestlè wants to Spend $128 Million to Extract Water from California’s Pristine McCloud River

Nestlé, the USA’s largest bottled water company, seeks to extract up to 520 million gallons of water from the McCloud River watershed each year. The McCloud River is unique in that most of its water comes from springs located near the base of Mount Shasta instead of surface water that accumulates from rainfall or snowmelt.

The company would also like to have the rights to a dam on the McCloud River. Nestlé and its supporters state that the bottling plant, planned for a 250-acre site that once supported the town's main lumber mill, would establish a sustainable industry in the economically depressed area, and provide needed jobs and tax revenue. Nestlè believes the environmental impact would be negligible or nonexistent.


Another Country Heard From

Tingyi Holdings, a Chinese based food conglomerate. is looking to more than double its sales of bottled water in the next three years.

The company, which holds 12.4% of China’s bottled water market is eyeing a 30% share by 2009 according to Hong Kong-based newspaper The Standard.

We aim to become the leader in bottled water next year and boost our market share to 30% between 2008 and 2009,” CFO Frank Lin told the newspaper.

Chinese drinks group Wahaha, owned by France’s Groupe_Danone, currently leads the bottled water segment.

Tingyi, which is diversified into several food and beverage segments, saw beverage sales account for over half of revenues during the first nine months of 2006.


Hot Air claim leveled at Oxygenated Water

According to one Professor Claude Piantadosi, writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, there is no significant difference in the oxygen content of so-called “oxygen waters” compared to regular bottled water. In fact, asserts the prof, there’s more of the gas in a single breath of fresh air.

Piantadosi told BeverageDaily.com,the only good thing I can say is that they won't hurt anything except your pocketbook; put this idea in the waste bin with Ponce de Leon's fountain of youth,"


We’ll plug it again – because it’s must-reading for all Fine Water lovers.

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