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Facts that you always wanted
to know about water

A Refreshing Dive into the History of Bottled Mineral Water 🗃💧

Bottled water has become an no longer indispensable part of our modern lives, with countless brands and varieties lining store shelves. But have you ever wondered how this phenomenon began and evolved over the centuries? Join me on a journey through time as we explore the rich history of bottled mineral water.

Aqueduct from Roman times that was transporting water

312 B.C.: The world's first aqueduct

The practice of consuming water as a beverage has deep roots in the earliest human civilizations. These ancient societies often built their cities near or directly on water sources, recognizing the essential role of water in sustaining life. The Romans, known for their engineering skills, developed an intricate system for moving water from its source to where it was needed. In fact, the first aqueduct was built in Rome in 312 B.C. and was nearly 17 kilometers in length. This innovative infrastructure allowed civilizations to expand and explore larger areas, reducing their dependence on close proximity to natural water sources.

The origins of bottled water can be traced back to a basic need: the need to transport water. Early civilizations developed containers to store and move water from its source to their settlements. Rainwater was also collected and preserved for culinary purposes. Smaller vessels served as personal water carriers, allowing a personal water supply to be transported over long distances.

It was probably the recognition of the intrinsic value of water, coupled with the ability to bottle it, that laid the foundation for the commercial bottled water industry. Springs of natural mineral water were the original source, used primarily for medicinal purposes. Both for bathing and drinking.

Over time, drinking bottled water became a symbol of prestige. Soon people demanded to have the special mineral waters available whenever they needed them.

1622: The birth of the bottled water industry

We know that water has been used since the earliest human civilizations, but who started bottling the first mineral waters on an "industrial" scale?

Two open hands under water

Research goes back to the year 1622 and leads to the United Kingdom. In Malvern, above the Malvern Wells, is the Holy Well. It is said that the Holy Well was credited with being the first water bottled in the world. Harrogate Spring also claims to have been the first to bottle "The Original British Bottled Water" in 1740. Although there is a remarkable difference between the years, the sale of bottled water soon spread across Europe, driven by the perceived medicinal value of spring waters.

The beginning of bottled water on a larger scale

In 1746, Prince Christian of Nassau-Oranien granted permission for the collection of Fachingen water in Germany. In the same year, the shipping of the healing water in specially built vessels began. In the Czech Republic, there were also waters such as Bilinska Kyselka, which were bottled in the 1870s. In America, th first individual bottled water was produced in 1767 when Jackson's Spa in Boston distributed it for the benefit of more people.

In the years that followed, more and more springs began bottling their special waters. Some of the brands we know today are Evian (1830), Poland Spring (1845), Vittel (1855), Selters (1888), Gerolsteiner (1888), Ferrarelle (1893) and San Pellegrino (1899).

Historical clay jug of the German water brand Selters

And what's the oldest bottle in the world?

Almost 10 years ago, a corked bottle of water was found in the depths of the Baltic Sea. It is said to be the world's oldest bottle of mineral water, dating from 1806-1830. The name on the bottle is "Selters". A very well known brand from Germany that still bottles the same water. This incredible artifact is a sign of how important bottled water was in the past and how important it still is today.

Now, I would like to invite you to take the bottled water you have at hand and research the history of it. I guarantee you it will be very interesting to learn how the water was used in the past. For those of you who have tap water… maybe call your water supplier to get some insights 😝

Many greetings

Timo Bausch

Certified Water Sommelier

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About Timo Bausch

My fascination with mineral waters began in 2016 during my training as a Water Sommelier. Since then, I have been exploring the characteristics and diversity of water. In addition to pairing water with food, wine, coffee and other beverages, I offer the creation of water menus for restaurants and hotels. Furthermore, it is also important to me to draw attention to the importance of drinking water.


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