Turning water into wine

Yes, we’ve got financial problems, but we really have it good. Notice how we nearly all are willing to pay considerable money for bottled water, which tests have shown is no different from ordinary tap water. Now people are attempting to turn different brands of water (all of which is essentially the same) into ever more expensive status symbols. Water is the new wine. From What’s Colorless and Tasteless And Smells Like . . . Money?:

In Tokyo and Paris, you can now spend $5 a glass on special beverages selected by a professional sommelier.

Nothing surprising there, except the beverages being served are different brands of bottled water — with various “flavors” supposedly matched to different foods.

Desalinated seawater from Hawaii, meanwhile, is being sold as “concentrated water” — at $33.50 for a two-ounce bottle. Like any concentrated beverage, it is supposed to be diluted before drinking, except that in this case, that means adding water to . . . water.

And from Tennessee, a company named BlingH2O — whose marketing imagery features a mostly nude model improbably balancing a bottle of water between her heel and her hip — is retailing its water at $40 for 750 milliliters, with special-edition bottles going for $480 — more than a million times the price of the liquid that comes from your tap.

The push to turn water into the new wine is a marketing phenomenon: The bottled-water industry is engaged in an intense effort to convince Americans that the stuff in bottles is substantially different from the stuff out of the tap.

But empirical tests have repeatedly shown that they are generally the same. In blind taste tests, many people who swear they can differentiate between bottled-water brands and tap water fail to spot the differences, and studies have shown that both are fine to drink, and both occasionally can have quality problems.

Not only that:

The supply of clean drinking water across America and in many other countries is an underappreciated scientific and technological achievement that in many ways rivals putting a man on the moon. Trillions of dollars have been spent to get clean drinking water to people at virtually no cost — and it is people in precisely these countries who seem willing to pay premiums of 1,000 percent to 10,000 percent for bottled water.

As the wealthiest billion people on the planet increasingly turn to bottled water, moreover, the poorest billion have no little or access to clean water.

For example, one designer water we Westerns like to guzzle comes from Fiji. But the people of Fiji often lack drinkable water.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://bestronginthegrace.blogspot.com TKls2myhrt

    That is so sad. One of my kids once asked me to buy them a bottle of Fiji water at Walgreen’s. I balked at a bottle of water that costs that much and refused. At our house, we drink city water! No filter! We like to live on the edge! (Actually, our city has great tasting water that tests very well). When we visit Grandpa in his small town, we bring our water.

    Veith writes, “Yes, we’ve got financial problems, but we really have it good. Notice how we nearly all are willing to…” Let’s fill in that blank with all the refuting evidence of a recession. In Minnesota, the first Sonic drive-in restaurant just opened in St. Paul. According to newspaper reports, people are driving from HOURS away and then waiting in line for over an hour to be served a hamburger and milkshake! Is our economy really that bad? It’s tough, but I don’t think we’ve reached a crisis just yet.

  • http://bestronginthegrace.blogspot.com TKls2myhrt

    That is so sad. One of my kids once asked me to buy them a bottle of Fiji water at Walgreen’s. I balked at a bottle of water that costs that much and refused. At our house, we drink city water! No filter! We like to live on the edge! (Actually, our city has great tasting water that tests very well). When we visit Grandpa in his small town, we bring our water.

    Veith writes, “Yes, we’ve got financial problems, but we really have it good. Notice how we nearly all are willing to…” Let’s fill in that blank with all the refuting evidence of a recession. In Minnesota, the first Sonic drive-in restaurant just opened in St. Paul. According to newspaper reports, people are driving from HOURS away and then waiting in line for over an hour to be served a hamburger and milkshake! Is our economy really that bad? It’s tough, but I don’t think we’ve reached a crisis just yet.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    For Sonic? Really? You couldn’t pay to eat at one.
    In and Out” needs to expand, but then their quality would probably go down.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    For Sonic? Really? You couldn’t pay to eat at one.
    In and Out” needs to expand, but then their quality would probably go down.

  • http://bestronginthegrace.blogspot.com TKls2myhrt

    Read this article: http://www.startribune.com/20646009.html

    Pretty funny!

  • http://bestronginthegrace.blogspot.com TKls2myhrt

    Read this article: http://www.startribune.com/20646009.html

    Pretty funny!

  • Don S

    I think Sonic is about the carhop service. Brings back nostalgic memories of the old A & W stands when I was a kid. It’s not the food as much as the atmosphere/feeling.

  • Don S

    I think Sonic is about the carhop service. Brings back nostalgic memories of the old A & W stands when I was a kid. It’s not the food as much as the atmosphere/feeling.


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