It’s the water ? in NC nowCheri Flanigan of Gold Cities Beverage Co. in Grass Valley shows the spring water her company distributes.
Bottled water is booming.
By 2004, beverage industry officials predict that bottled water sales will surpass coffee and milk, and rank second only to soft drinks.
U.S. consumers bought an average of 19.5 gallons of nature?s own last year, according to Beverage Marketing Corp., a New York City-based research firm.
Western Nevada County hasn’t missed out on the trend.
Disposable plastic bottles of Nevada City Pure Mountain Spring Water can be bought throughout much of Northern California, said Cheri Flanigan, co-owner of Gold Cities Beverage Co., a Grass Valley beer and beverage distributor.
With a label showing Nevada City’s historic Broad Street fire station, the brand has been around since the 1980s, Flanigan said. She and husband, Mike, bought the trademark in 1997.
“We saw the bottled water market starting to become a viable market so we were happy to get into it,” she said.
About 25 percent of all U.S. bottled water comes from municipal water systems ? it’s really just tap water.
But Nevada City Pure Mountain Spring Water comes from a spring near Colfax ? Baxter Spring, which is in Placer County, just over the Bear River. It’s in a building about 1,000 yards from the Baxter exit of Interstate 80.
Tanker trucks haul Baxter Spring water to the Roseville-based California Bottling Co., where it gets put into various-size plastic bottles under 35 different labels, including Nevada City, Albertson’s and Safeway, said Jim McDonald, vice-president of sales and marketing.
The only treatment the spring water gets is filtering and ozonation, or disinfection with ozone, which has no residual effect, McDonald said.
Nevada Irrigation District also has a brand of bottled water. It?s not for sale, but donated to community groups and distributed at events.
“It is actually NID water out of our treatment plant” that gets hauled to a plant in Modesto for bottling, said Ben Barretta, NID assistant general manager.
He doesn’t see the need for bottled water here, high in the Sierra Nevada watershed.
“If you’re an NID customer, it’s kind of a waste of your money,” he said.
The Flanigans got into the bottled water business partly so they could donate it at events that aren?t conducive to beer drinking, such as the Mount St. Mary’s school booth at the county fair.
“We never were able to do any (charitable) thing with kids, obviously, because we sell Budweiser,” Flanigan said.
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