Published: Saturday, March 22, 2008 at 3:42 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 22, 2008 at 3:42 a.m.
ST. PETERSBURG | If you buy a bottle of Zephyrhills Brand Natural Spring Water, it may not come from Zephyrhills.
It may not even be "natural spring water," it may be well water.
Better read the fine print.
People identify with their waters.
In the Tampa Bay area, it's Zephyrhills and the spring in Pasco County. Northeasterners love their Poland Springs water, the product of a retreating glacier in Maine some 20,000 years ago. In the mid Atlantic region, Deer Park of Oakland, Md., was king. It was from a boiling spring at a vacation resort and spa in the Appalachian Mountains of Maryland, a spa visited by four U.S. presidents.
Out west, it was Arrowhead from the San Bernardino mountains. The Midwest gave us Ice Mountain and Ozarka.
But over the years, Nestle Waters North America, the largest water-bottling corporation in the country, has bought them all.
The subsidiary of the Swiss company that brought us the Crunch bar and Quik chocolate milk says consumers look for a brand based on its quality. That's what the company delivers with water products.
"What you find, people are loyal to the taste and the brand," said Jim McClellan, a spokesman for Nestle Waters. "They associate a brand with a taste, not necessarily a location. Most people don't know where Deer Park is located."
THE NAME GAME
Taking advantage of the power of its brands, Nestle has remade the bottled water industry. In some cases, the source of the water no longer fits the name on the bottle.