Despite the economic woes of the past few years, there seems to be no shortage of hideously expensive bottled water.
Everyone’s financial threshold is different when it comes to quenching thirst, and there are at least a half-dozen brands of water selling in the range of $40-50 per bottle. Currently, the most expensive is Fillico, which charges $100 for 750 ml. Fillico is sourced from a natural spring at the foot of Mount Rokko, near Kobe, Japan. The spring yields only 5,000 bottles each month, and part of its production is reserved for brewing sake.
There are more expensive bottles of Fillico, embellished with Swarovski rhinestones and selling for $230, but these do not count. When evaluating the “most expensive” version of any beverage, purists value the contents rather than the package. Thus, the $3.5 million spent for a diamond-encrusted bottle of Tequila Ley in 2006 only purchased the most expensive bottle, not the world’s priciest tequila.
Among the costliest bottled waters, the only one which appears to be homegrown is Bling H20, which comes from the Great Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. The rest all emanate from exotic, far-flung locales: Veen hails from the Finnish Lapland; Berg is sourced from icebergs off the coast of Newfoundland; Lauquen comes from Patagonia, and Aquadeco is collected from an 18,000 year-old aquifer in Ontario.
One disturbing thing about the industry is that most of the high-end waters seem to come from glacial springs. If the trend in climate change (or whatever we’re calling global warming these days) continues, the entire trend could be endangered. From a marketing perspective, it’s difficult to sell $50 bottles of water that are sourced from puddles.
Do these waters really taste markedly different from the bottles of Zephyrhills that most of us buy at a convenience store? You’d have to ask someone else—this stuff isn’t in my budget, and samples haven’t been forthcoming. Hopefully, one of these producers will loosen up and ship me a few bottles before all the polar bears head south.