Beverage Startups

Water Industry is Headed to Be More Mindful, Says CJ Pennington

Water Industry is Headed to Be More Mindful, Says CJ PenningtonEach year we talk more and more about the impact of plastic packaging. There are a lot of movements against bottled water. However, are all bottled water brands are harmful for our planet? Today, I have the pleasure of talking with CJ Pennington, President at Proud Source Water.

Every brand has an interesting story to tell. What is the story behind Proud Source Water?

Proud Source Water’s humble beginning began in Mackay, Idaho as an idea to help support the local community.  Mackay is a small town of 500 people and local jobs had been growing more scarce. As a result, community assets like the local high school were in the midst of a possible shut down. The small town, which is nestled at the base of some of Idaho’s tallest mountain has always prided itself on its great tasting, natural spring water.

The initial goal of the business was to create an impact on the local level and bring the community job opportunities. Doing right by the community was essential to the core beginnings of the business. The intention of Proud Source Water began with the idea of giving back while showing future generations it can produce the best tasting bottled water and do it the right way for the right reasons. We like to say “bottled water done right”.

Proud Source Water is an eco-friendly bottled water brand. Can you tell us more about the packaging solution and how it affects the environment?

Water Industry is Headed to Be More Mindful, Says CJ PenningtonThe brand’s intention is to give back, so as we thought of giving back to our communities and local environment, we truly had to ask ourselves: what was the right thing to do, and how can we create the most impact in our decisions around packaging? After researching the bottling industry, we knew we needed to change the industry from the accepted norms. We knew plastic water bottles were not the answer and shouldn’t be anybody’s long term solution.

We studied the movement away from plastic and the harm it brings to our environment, so our passion quickly grew to find something better for us, and better for the planet. We grew fond of aluminum because we knew the consumer was accustomed to the material and the recyclable nature of the material. Aluminum is the #1 recycled material in the US (and the world).  Putting all this together, we knew we had found our solution for bottles and caps.

Additionally, our state-of-the-art facility is located at the base of Idaho’s Mt. McCaleb where we source our water deep in the Rocky Mountains using a gravity-fed supply system to reduce energy consumption. As we bottle directly at the source, this means little to no water is lost. We take our mission to heart and are certified B-Corp, so that we can continue to do good by the community.

Even though, the packaging is very important, people buy bottled water for the water itself. Why Proud Source Water is something consumers should drink?

Proud Source Water is fresh, unique, spring water that is bottled right from the source. The water comes out of the spring naturally at an alkaline level of 8.5 pH. This feature makes for a great tasting, drinkable water that is hard to beat. We wanted to rewrite the narrative of what good water bottled water is, and we did just that. We don’t compromise on quality and take a very holistic approach to responsibly sourcing the water. When you have a high quality, natural resource like spring water – sometimes the best thing to do is let mother nature do what she does best. This water is filtered by millions of years of geological activity – it is tough to find water this good in quality.

A clear marketing strategy is one of the keys of success. Who is Proud Source Water’s target market?

Proud Source Water’s target market is vast. We see mainstream consumers looking for quality water, as well as businesses looking for more natural options. The farm to table movement has encouraged natural food shoppers to look for products that are responsibly produced, and ethical businesses. More people are looking for a solution to reduce plastic usage, and we love being a solution to many consumers.

What are the biggest goals set for 2020?

We are looking to deepen our roots in the community by providing additional opportunities to the Mackay residents. It’s a goal of ours to increase jobs in Mackay by 30%. We also want to continue to provide consumers with a plastic-free, natural option, nationwide. In addition, we are always looking to create change and educate consumers as we want to provide accessibility in the best way possible, so making an impact will always be a goal.

We have a current partnership and are 1% for the Planet members. We donate 1% of annual sales to environmental initiatives such as cleaning the ocean. Our long-term goal would be to remove and replace 20 million plastic bottles this year, as we continue to prove that plastic-free is the future. We are here to hydrate more communities the right way.

The beverage industry is changing rapidly these days. In your opinion, what are the biggest trends every beverage startup shouldn’t miss these days? Where the industry is heading?

AWater Industry is Headed to Be More Mindful, Says CJ Penningtons my experience is purely in the water space, I would say that the industry is headed to be more mindful when it comes to packaging, which I think is a move in the right direction. I hope to see more businesses move into the space that are interested in others and the planet. I think it speaks volumes when a brand begins their journey with a selfless purpose.

What advice would you have given yourself before you started out in the beverage business?

To be yourself. Authenticity is often discussed in the consumer product goods space and there is no easier way of being authentic than by just being yourself!

For more information visit Proud Source Water’s website.

About Ugne Butkute

Ugnė Butkutė is a project manager at DrinkPreneur. Ugnė is responsible for attracting contributors, maintaining quality of content and keeping readers satisfied with DrinkPreneur

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