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EXCLUSIVE: 150TH ANNIVERSARY FACTORY VISIT

‘Perrier knows no limits’: Vergèze factory manager

By Ben Bouckley+

13-Dec-2013

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Perrier site manager Bernard Rouger insists that there are no supply limitations as Nestle Waters’ iconic French sparkling water brand breaks the 1.1bn unit barrier in 2013.

Speaking to BeverageDaily.com about the logistical challenges involved in operating and caring for the source, and its associated bottling and storage site at Vergezè, Rouger (pictured left, who works for Nestle Waters Sud) says that the first challenge is to guarantee finished product quality.

“More than half of our production is exported, so we are very attentive to the packaging and all the operations inside the factory, because we want to be a premium brand that delivers perfect quality all around the world,” Rouger explains.

“Depending on the transportation conditions, we must be very attentive in terms of packaging and quality. That’s one of our main points of attention inside the factory,” he adds.

The challenge is not a new one, Rouger explained, since from its origins Perrier was an exported to the UK early in the 20th century by entrepreneurial British aristocrat Sir Saint-John Harmsworth.

Clearly, Perrier differs from a brand such as Coke (where the concentrate can be shipped worldwide for bottling) in that there is a localized source and bottling takes place on site.

So did Rouger feel this placed limits on Perrier’s long-term growth possibilities – with the brand set to produce 1.1bn units (glass and PET bottles, cans) in 2013?

“I hope we can produce 2bn (bottles, cans) in 10 years. We have no limits in terms of the capacity of the spring, in terms of the underground source," he says.

“We have develop new wells to maintain the rate of water and CO2, but we have no limit. That said, we have to protect the environment to avoid any pollution, and for that we have a specific agreement with local farmers.”

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