Saturday, July 19, 2008

Distilled From Water, Designer or Tap: High Anxiety

How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It
By Elizabeth Royte
248 pages. Bloomsbury. US $24.99.

The boom in designer water has brought us not only hundreds of varieties from every place from Serbia to Brazil to South Africa, but also the advent of water sommeliers, water bars and Web site guides to fine waters from around the world. There are waters from springs, wells, glaciers and icebergs, as well as Tasmanian rainwater and melted Italian snow water. There are waters enhanced with minerals, vitamins and proteins, and even waters that have been vibrated at frequencies meant to stimulate health and spiritual well-being. For the conspicuous consumer there is $40-a-bottle Bling H2O, which comes in containers decorated with Swarovski crystals, and for the guilty consumer there is Ethos Water, which helps support water projects in poor countries. In 2006 some eight billion gallons of bottled water were sold in America, and the $11 billion market welcomed 140 new products to the shelves. The year before, the bottled water industry spent $158 million on advertising in the United States alone.
Full story in The New York Times online.

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