Bottled water from Norway coming

A Norwegian startup company wants to take a sip out of the Capital Region’s bottled water market.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

A Norwegian startup company wants to take a sip out of the Capital Region’s bottled water market.

In about a month, Isbre Holding Corp. plans to start selling in the region its sub-Arctic glacial spring water. Isbre bottled water made its U.S. debut in the greater Philadelphia metropolitan market in summer 2006.

The Osa, Norway, company announced Wednesday an agreement with East Syracuse-based Spirit & Sanzone Distributors, which will distribute Isbre in 21 upstate counties. “Isbre” means “glacier” in Norwegian.

The distribution agreement will bring Isbre into a market that houses operations run by Saratoga Spring Water Co. and Vermont Pure Holdings. But Isbre, which has a U.S. headquarters in Montvale, N.J., sees its “super-premium” priced water competing more with the Fiji and Evian brands than those put out by Saratoga Spring Water Co. in Saratoga Springs and the Watertown, Conn.-based Vermont Pure, which has a bottling plant in Halfmoon.

Vermont Pure, which also bottles Crystal Rock brand water, processes water from the Hudson River and sells it as purified water. Pepsi Bottling Co.’s Aquafina brand of drinking water comes from Latham’s municipal water supply.

“This is going to be more than a regional brand and more than a national brand. To some extent, we’re becoming a global brand,” said Isbre President Stevan Sandberg.

Isbre’s water originates from a 5,000-year-old glacier that covers that mountain ranges that surround the Osa Valley in western Norway. The cold and remote location of Isbre’s water source help protect its purity. The company says its water’s total dissolved solid content is 4 parts per million, compared with Saratoga Spring’s 90 ppm and Vermont Pure’s 72 ppm.

Saratoga Spring Chief Executive Officer Adam Madkour did not immediately return an e-mail asking for comment.

Isbre is already available is several Mid-Atlantic states, including downstate New York. It is also sold in England, Denmark and Germany. The company was founded in 1998, but it did not start bottling water until 2006. It currently ships bottled water to the United States from Norway. After its Bristol, Penn., bottling plant opens in summer, it will transport water in tanker ships.

Categories: Business

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