FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2007
Linda Shelton, TDA Marketing Specialist
Tennessee Water Sparkles Worldwide, Wins International Competition
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – “Tennessee’s own StoneClear Springs carbonated water just won the 2007 Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Competition, the first American carbonated water ever to win the international gold medal for taste at the Berkeley Springs competition,” announced state Agriculture Commissioner Ken Givens.
StoneClear Springs is located on a farm in Vanleer, about 60 miles west of Nashville. The bottled water has won more awards that any other bottler in the world, according to owner and operator Tom Edwards. The farm has been in his wife’s family for more than 200 years.
“It brings us joy, really, to see the people holding Tennessee’s farm and forestland get creative and innovative about ways to keep the family farm and to keep Tennessee’s countryside country,” said Givens. “We have programs in place right now to help such farmers find success in the future through adding value to the products they already have right there on their farms, to improve the quality of the products they already produce, and to help them try new on-farm crops and businesses.”
StoneClear Springs participates in the state’s longstanding “Pick Tennessee Products” promotion, a statewide campaign developed to help consumers identify and choose farm and processed products from Tennessee. The “Pick Tennessee Products” logo is displayed on the water bottle’s label.
The farm-based business also recently received cost share funds from the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program. The TAEP is an initiative of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, supported by Governor Phil Bredesen and funded by the Tennessee General Assembly, to help the state’s farmers diversify and improve their operations to increase farm profits. StoneClear used the TAEP funding to purchase new ozonating equipment to boost their bottling productivity.
“StoneClear Springs Premium Spring Water has been chosen among the best tasting waters in the whole world at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting competition for five consecutive years,” said company owner Edwards. “As the holder of numerous gold, silver and bronze medals, we’ve won more awards from that competition than any other entry in the entire 18 year history of the competition.”
Edwards says the decision to investigate bottling the farm’s natural water resource was made to help ensure the farm would remain in the family as farmland for many years to come.
They knew the water was good, said Edwards, but until the source was analyzed, they didn’t realize how good. “Running at a constant 58 degrees, the water surfaces through a limestone cavern about a quarter mile from where we now have the bottling facility,” according to Edwards. “The source of the water is an ancient aquifer deep underground that originates somewhere near the artic cap. This water is a pure as God intended it to be, even before we filter and ozonate it!”
Water from the spring is pumped straight from the source, said Edwards, and is bottled without ever being exposed to outside air. Before bottling, the water is filtered, subjected to UV light and ozonated to ensure the purity and taste of the finished product.
The Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting is the largest water tasting competition in the world. More than 100 water brands from across the country and around the globe are represented at the annual February festival held in the historic spa town of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.
StoneClear bottles amounts ranging from small, personal plastic bottles to five gallon containers for home and office use. The Tennessee farm business also offers private label editions for companies to advertise their own names and logo as well as elegant etched glass bottles for some of the world’s top hotel and eating establishments, including the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and Tennessee’s own world renowned Blackberry Farm in Maryville.
“These folks have spent years getting their farm product the attention they knew it deserved, and lots and lots of people have been involved in helping them rise,” says Givens. “It makes me feel really good to think that working with StoneClear all these years, we’ve had a little part in that success, introducing them to buyers of their products and to other Tennessee food service people who already have a foot in an important door.”
“StoneClear Springs is proof positive that the future can be great for those who reach deep within for inspiration, and then reach out for the help they need to take their dreams to the next level.”
“We always use StoneClear Springs at our events and trade missions,” says Givens; “Now I’m looking forward to showing off our ‘Pick Tennessee Products’ logo and telling people StoneClear is the best in the world.”
To find more farm-direct and processed food products from Tennessee or for more information on TAEP cost share programs for Tennessee farmers, visit www.picktnproducts.org.
This and other news releases from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture can be found at http://tennessee.gov/agriculture/news/index.html
Market Development/Pick Tennessee Products news releases can also be found at http://picktnproducts.org/press/index.html