Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Languedoc Roussillon - Perrier Water

Given the history of hot springs and spas in the Languedoc Roussillon you probably won't be surprised that Perrier Water comes from this region. Perrier Water comes from a spring called Les Bouillens in Vergèze in the Gard département of the Languedoc-Roussillon. Perrier is naturally carbonated and Perrier claims that the level of carbonation in every bottle of Perrier is the same as the water of the Vergèze spring.

Legend has it that the original carbonated water source of Perrier was discovered in 218 B.C. by Hannibal’s army in when it was on its march to conquer Rome. The Romans were the first to build a stone basin at the site of the spring, along with a few buildings. These installations were a precursor to the spa that would be built much later on.

Les Bouillens was bought in 1898 by a local doctor named Louis Perrier who operated a spa. He later sold it to Sir St. John Harmsworth, brother of Lord Northcliffe, proprietor of the Daily Mail in the UK, who had been sent to France to learn French. St John cashed in his shares in the Daily Mail to buy the spring. Abandoning the spa treatment he renamed it Source Perrier and started bottling it in green bottles shaped like the Indian clubs he used for exercise.

As for his sales strategy, Harmsworth reasoned that if he could convince the British army in India of the unique qualities of his little bottle, he could go on to conquer the remaining British colonies. It was a simple idea - and it worked. Following its success in the colonies, Perrier water was served at Buckingham Palace, and Harmsworth was awarded the title "Purveyor by appointment to his Majesty". Perrier Water is now owned by Nestlé.


Pam said...

Very interesting! Amazing that it dates back to Hannibal's army! Love Perrier and drink it quite a bit. I had no idea it is owned by Nestle.

lostpastremembered said...

I never knew that about the bottle or that it had British backing.. I always thought it was 100% French. With so many choices, it's been forever since I had a Perrier... I used to haul it around in my bag... in a glass bottle... how times have changed. great post

Sue said...

Thanks Girls! We have Malvern Water near us which is bottled by Schwepps. It is supposed to be Britain's oldest and carries the title The Original English Mineral Water.