Thursday, February 21, 2013
Mountain Valley Spring Water Logo
Mountain Valley Spring Water is an American brand of spring water bottled in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It has been bottled continuously since 1871 and is currently owned by Clear Mountain Spring Water Company of Little Rock, Arkansas. Mountain Valley Spring Water is distributed across the United States.
Mountain Valley water originates at a protected spring just west of Highway 7 North, approximately twelve miles from downtown Hot Springs. In 1871, pharmacist Peter E. Greene and his brother, John Greene, were the first to sell Mountain Valley Spring Water, which was then known in the Hot Springs area as “Lockett’s Spring Water” because of its association with Benjamin Lockett and his son, Enoch. The brothers renamed the water Mountain Valley after a small community nearby. In 1883, the Mountain Valley Water Company was officially formed, with Zeb Ward, G. G. Latta, Samuel Fordyce, and Samuel Stitt as principal investors and company officers with Peter Greene remaining as local manager.
Ownership of the spring was transferred in 1902, when August Schlafly of St. Louis Missouri, already a major stockholder in the company, and his family became sole owners. By 1908, franchise offices had followed in Chicago, Illinois, and New York City. An apocryphal tale holds that two strangers, traveling home to New York from Hot Springs by train, were in the dining car, and each produced a bottle of Mountain Valley for his respective table. This coincidence led to much conversation and then an agreement to form a fifty-fifty partnership for a Mountain Valley Water Company franchise in New York. Upon exchanging business cards, media mogul William Randolph Hearst discovered that his new partner was the well-known gambler Richard Canfield, a man against whom his newspapers were conducting a fierce campaign.
By the 1920's, Mountain Valley Water was being served in the United States Senate, and in 1928, distribution began in California, making Mountain Valley the first bottled water to be available coast to coast. In 1924, Schlafly purchased the DeSoto Springs Mineral Water Company, located at 150 Central Avenue in Hot Springs. The two-story, Classical Revival brick building was built specifically to house a mineral water depot. A third level was added in 1921 to house a Japanese-themed dance hall, with accommodation for a live band. The building remained the DeSoto Spring Water Depot and DeSoto Dance Hall until 1936, when Mountain Valley Water Company made the building its national headquarters and visitor center.
In 1966, the Schlaflys sold the company to a group of distributors under the leadership of John G. Scott. The company’s headquarters were moved to Paramus, New Jersey, and the historic Mountain Valley building was closed. In April 1987, Sammons Enterprises of Dallas, Texas, purchased the company and returned administrative operations to Hot Springs. Sammons sold the company in April 2004 to the current private ownership.
In an effort to discover what ingredient or ingredients made this spring water different from its competitors and beneficial to those with chronic disorders, the company encouraged the clinical and biochemical study of the water and its possible therapeutic effects in the 1920's and 1930's. Clinical tests at hospitals in New York, St. Louis, and Philadelphia demonstrated improvements in the health of patients suffering from kidney and liver disorders and rheumatism as a result of drinking Mountain Valley Water. Studies after World War II in facilities in New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, St. Louis, and Houston further investigated the connection between the low-sodium content of the water and its alkaline buffering ability. The extensive testing of the spring water enabled the company to present a strong and successful defense to 1956 allegations by the Food and Drug Administration that its advertising claims were too broad and exaggerated.
In 2003, it received a Gold Medal at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Awards for Non-Carbonated Bottled Water. Water varieties include regular spring water and sparkling water, and both varieties are available in glass bottles or plastic bottles that use 25% recycled PET.
In 2011 Mountain Valley Sparkling Water won the Silver Medal in the sparkling water category at the Berkley Springs International Water Tasting Awards.
Every United States President from Calvin Coolidge to Bill Clinton served Mountain Valley Spring Water in the White House. Following a heart attack in 1955, President Dwight Eisenhower drank the water on the advice of his physician. Other notable connoisseurs of the water included Elvis Presley and boxing champions Joe Louis, Gene Tunney, and Sugar Ray Robinson. Consumption of the water has not been limited to humans: thoroughbreds such as Secretariat, Nashua, Kelso, Bold Ruler, and Sunday Silence were trained on this spring water.
P. Allen Smith serves Mountain Valley Spring and Sparkling Water at his garden home.
Mountain Valley Spring and Sparkling Waters are the official bottled waters of the Southern Foodways Alliance and the Society of Hickory Golfers.
Movies and Television
Mountain Valley Spring Water has a long show business tradition that dates back to Gloria Swanson. Today Mountain Valley shares the screen with stars such as Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Paul Reiser, and Ashley Judd.
On television, Mountain Valley has been featured in episodes of Parks and Recreation and Happily Divorced.
Posted by Palmer at 12:37 PM