The Growing Thirst for Mineral WaterWater
In 2013, Ray’s & Stark Bar, located at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, did something that some could have written off as “very L.A.”
Working together with water sommelier Martin Riese, the restaurant unveiled a unique water menu, representing twenty water varieties from ten countries around the world.
Mr. Riese, a certified water sommelier from the German Mineral Water Association, as well as the author behind Die Welt des Wassers (translated as “The World of Water”), educated the staff to suggest water pairings to customers – similar to how they would with wine.
“Water has a significant impact on the way we taste food, just as with wine and spirits. We are already accustomed to pairing food with wine or beer, but many people don’t know that water is just as important to the entire dining experience,” he said at the time.
Since the debut of the water menu in Los Angeles, the interest in mineral water has only continued. According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, 2017 marked a change in the United States, as bottled water surpassed soft drinks in the country. The quench for mineral water is thriving for a variety of reasons, two points being that consumers have become more health-conscious, as well as appalled by the environmental crisis caused by plastic bottles.
In Germany, the average citizen drinks close to 150 liters of mineral water per year. This is up from just 12.5 liters in 1970. In comparison to the United States, this is pretty high, where recent per capita consumption was just over 42 gallons (which includes still, carbonated and mineral water).
The thirst for water knowledge has also been driven forward. While water sommeliers are not necessarily mainstream, they are carving out a place in a world that is increasingly attracted to mineral water, especially those with disposable income who are able to spend twenty or thirty dollars to pair a bottle of mineral water with dinner. Water sommeliers are educating consumers around the planet, with everything from books to podcasts to restaurants.
At Mitte, this knowledge of water is crucial to our work, in addition to access and affordability.
Our ultimate goal is to make mineralized water accessible for everyone. As we head into the next decade, it’s important to understand these developments and how they will impact the world. It’s so important to us, in fact, that one of our co-founders, Karan Sarin, trained to become a certified water sommelier this past year in Germany.
“Most people think water has no taste. As water sommeliers, our core responsibility is to change that perception and uncover the minerals and nutritional physiology of water,” said Karan, our co-founder and CMO at Mitte. “In reality, no two waters taste the same. What differentiates them is both their mineral content and their mineral composition.”
The interest in mineral water, and bottled water in general, will continue. While there are a handful of companies that use glass bottles, an overwhelming majority are bottled in plastic. We are already aware of the negative impact on our environment and bodies, but if we do not balance our increasing desire for mineral water, this may throw off our current ecosystem.
As far as beverages go, water might be the one that fares pretty low on the list of drinks we actively think about – at least for those who have easy access to basic drinking water. It’s something that’s ingrained in us to drink daily, most likely comes from a tap or bottle, and, for the
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