Colorado has a new liquid asset: A bottled-water company is running an all-Colorado operation, from the source to the store. "Being a Colorado native company is very important to us,” says Dan Rogers, the RiNo-based salesman for Colorado STRAIGHT UP!, owned by Colorado Springs-based MSP Inc.
The water is sourced from a well on private land southwest of Durango, in the Four Corners region; Rogers calls the well “a straw in the ground” to the groundwater below. It's bottled and sold exclusively in Colorado, in a bottle that sports the Colorado flag and the words "pure spring water." By only selling to Coloradans, Rogers acknowledges that the company is limiting its market, but he hopes residents will buy local. “Who knows?” he adds. “We might become the most popular water in the state.”
The bottled-water business is deceptively complicated, and every decision about sourcing, filtering, bottling and transporting can impact the water's taste. One of the easiest ways to make good water taste bad, Rogers says, is to put it in bottles with BPA, an industrial chemical that can seep into the water and cause health problems.
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“You should never drink anything that is not in a BPA-free bottle,” he advises. “That bottle eventually is going to break down at the molecular level and release its oil. So when you drink that water and you get that bad taste, you are blaming the water, not the bottle. But really, it's the bottle that tastes terrible.” STRAIGHT UP! went with a bottle that is not only BPA-free, but one that is also completely recyclable.
The company is thinking for the long term. "Bottled water is not going away. It will never go away,” Rogers concludes, pointing to water’s recent triumph over soda in the beverage market.
Colorado STRAIGHT UP! runs $1.25 a bottle and can be found at all Safeway stores as part of the chain's “Buy Local” campaign, as well as at many gas stations; it will soon be available in Concourse C at Denver International Airport, too.