A little about the history of bottled water

Water sources were once common sites of worship and archaeological studies have found that offerings were thrown into springs as sacrifices for fertility, rebirth and regeneration. In fact, natural springs emerging from the ground were considered magical, infused by the Gods for their therapeutic and healing powers. On its website, the European Federation for Bottled Waters provides brief insight into the development of Europe’s bottled water industries.

In north America, while it seems simple enough to credit (or blame) bottled water’s recent popularity on clever marketing, the industry also has a foundation in a history of ‘deeply ingrained, cultural reverence for pure water’, according to Dr. Francis H. Chapelle, a hydrologist with USGS and author of the book Wellsprings: A Natural History Of Bottled Spring Waters.

Brands and tastes have changed remarkably through the decades. This excerpt from the BCC Research report Global Markets for Bottled Water Products, analyst Natraj Pandal explores the major milestones in the industry leading up to the 21st century.

Finally, for an entertaining, if not fully comprehensive, take on the modern industry – read Sophie Elmhirst’s brilliant piece in The Guardian. Here, she details how a substance that falls from the air, springs from the earth, and comes out of your tap became a hyperactive multibillion-dollar business.