Guus Backelandt was inspired to create the brand after visiting Canada six years ago, where he was struck by the beauty of floating icebergs himself.
Iceberg Water was joint winner of the Best Natural Water category at the Global Bottled Water Awards, hosted by Zenith International.
Harvesting the icebergs
Icebergs naturally detach from the Canadian ice shelf and float south. A journey of around five to seven years takes them to the Newfoundland coastline. It was here that Backelandt learnt about the purity of the water within and the idea of creating the Iceberg Water brand was born.
“They come through Iceberg Alley in Newfoundland before drifting into the ocean and melting away,” he said. “I was there, I saw this, and I wanted to know everything about this. When you are there in May, everything is green, and you see huge icebergs passing by – it made such an impression on me.”
He also heard how locals consider the iceberg water as a gift from Mother Nature; as well as reading up on the purity of the water.
It took around four years for Backelandt to take his idea from conception to reality: and he says the premium price tag of the water (€10 / $10.70 for a 75cl bottle via the online store) reflects the complexity of the operation.
For a start, it was necessary to obtain the appropriate permits from Canadian authorities to harvest the icebergs. The water has to be bottled at source. Backelandt is clear that the water is taken from detached icebergs - ones which are destined to melt in the ocean – and believes the brand is harvesting a valuable resource that would otherwise go to waste.
Perhaps most challenging of all is a limited harvesting season - which only runs from May to July. This requires advance planning; and good partners to build a distribution network and forecast volumes.
Low mineral content
In contrast to many natural mineral and spring waters, which pride themselves on their mineral composition, Iceberg Water believes it has the lowest mineral content of any bottled water. The significance of this is the impact on taste: which Backelandt describes as ‘so smooth and so fresh.’
This means the premium product pairs well with food or fine liquors.
“You find it in the best restaurants, people who like to pair it with foods or with spirits. We have hosted whisky tastings where they very much appreciate Iceberg Water,” he said.
Currently available in Europe, the brand is setting its sights on the US for the future. Backelandt says it is the very nature of the water that will help market the brand as it expands.
“I’ve never met someone who’s not intrigued,” he said. “If you see an iceberg, a photo, everyone thinks of the unbelievable beauty.”
Global bottled water awards
Other winners in the global bottled water awards, hosted by Zenith International as part of the Global Bottled Water Congress in Zenith recently, were as follows:
Best natural water: Iceberg Water - Concept Spirits BV; Pedras Salgadas - Unicer SA
Best flavoured water: Nuva Spring Water with a Kiss of Extracts - Nuva Ltd
Best functional water; POW Sparkling Energy Water - The Powerful Water Company
Best new water concept: Mascot Font Vella - Danone Waters
Best new brand: Hope in a Bottle - Friends of Hope
Best bottle design: San Pellegrino Magnum - Nestle Waters MT
Best label: Mascot Font Vella - Danone Waters
Best cap or closure: LifeTop - CapAble AB
Best marketing inc social media: Buxton London Marathon Campaign - Nestle Waters MT
Best sustainability initiative: ECO-Flex - Coca-Cola HBC Greece
Best community initiative: Hope in a Bottle - Friends of Hope