Global Bottled Water Awards 2018

Essentia CEO: ‘You’ve got to have a foundation that’s square and level: if you don’t, by the time you build the house you’ll have all kinds of trouble’

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Essentia, entrepreneurship and the 2018 Global Bottled Water Awards
Essentia Water Founder and CEO Ken Uptain says that building the company up around a philosophy of longevity has been key to the brand's success.The brand, which pioneered ionized alkaline water in the US, took home two awards in the 2018 Global Bottled Water Awards last week.

Uptain founded Essentia in 1998, after a career in real estate, and the brand is now the top alkaline water brand and top selling bottled water brand in the natural channel in the US. Sales surged 84% to $136m​ in measured channels in the year to March 25, 2018, according to figures from IRI MULO+C, and the company is confident in future growth.

Essentia uses a proprietary process to create its ionized alkaline water with a pH of 9.5. The water is first purified using microfilters, reverse osmosis and UV light; then electrolytes are added and its proprietary ionization process removes bitter-tasting acidic water ions and raises the pH. Essentia says that it’s this ionization process that leads to better hydration.

The brand won awards in the categories of Best Functional Water and Best Marketing or Social Media Campaign at the Global Bottled Water Awards, which were announced at the Zenith Global Bottled Water Congress in Evian, France, last week.

ken uptain
Ken Uptain

So what’s Uptain’s top tips for other entrepreneurs?

“I think first is to manage expectations,” ​he said, speaking in a CEO interview with Zenith Global chairman Richard Hall during the Congress. “I’ve seen a lot of young entrepreneurs with great visions of grandeur but the reality is its impossible to grow something to this scale over a short period of time.

“Secondly, make sure the consumer wants your product: if they don't, you’re pushing uphill.”

Asked if he had been able to transfer any lessons from the real estate industry over to the beverage industry, Uptain said: “The analogy I always use is that you’ve got to have a foundation that’s square and level: and if you don’t, by the time you build the house up there you’ll have all kind of trouble.

"So I’ve built this brand on longevity and I wanted to make sure we had a strong foundation to grow on."

So what’s next for the brand? Uptain is both enthusiastic and cautious about future growth opportunities: again highlighting the importance of growing carefully with a long-term game plan.

“Clearly I think this is a global brand, but I really believe in staying focused on what we do. We’re looking at – on the side – what is the next step: but we’ve got a ton to do in the US.”

Innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity

The winners of the 2018 Global Bottled Water Awards were announced on October 23 at a Gala Dinner during the 15th Global Bottled Water Congress in Evian, France.The annual awards are organised Zenith Global, with the support of category sponsors Ardagh Group, Bericap, ICE Water Management, Sidel and Tetra Pak.

GBWC awards all winners

The awards were made across 12 categories; and the winners are:

Best Natural Still Water ​– sponsored by Sidel

Highlands Beverages Pty Ltd – Highlands Beverage Still Water

Best Natural Sparkling Water
Winner: Hijos de Rivera S.A.U - Magma Cabreiroá 1L Glass

Best Flavoured Water - sponsored by Ardagh Group
Winner: Icelandic Glacial - Icelandic Glacial’s Elderflower Sparkling Water

Best Functional Water
Winner: Essentia Water, LLC - Essentia Water

Best New Water Concept
Winner: Wine Water Ltd - O.Vine

Best New Brand/Brand Extension
Winner: Hijos de Rivera S.A.U - Cabreiroá 0,5L Gorjuss for Kids

Best Packaging/Label Design

Winner: Lofoten Arctic Water AS - Lofoten Water 

Best Packaging Solution
Winner: JUST Goods - JUST Water

Best Technology Innovation - sponsored by ICE Water Management
Winner: AquaBotanical Beverages (Australia) Pty Ltd - AquaBotanical Water

Best Cap/Closure - sponsored by Bericap
Winner: NutraPress (Australia) Pty Ltd- NutraPress Cap
Winner: - Water.Connected

Best Marketing or Social Media Campaign
Winner: Essentia Water, LLC – Essentia Presents The Overachievers

Best CSR Initiative - sponsored by Tetra Pak
Winner: AquaBotanical Beverages (Australia) Pty Ltd - AquaBotanical Water

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