FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- FEBRUARY 25, 2012
Travel Berkeley Springs - Berkeley Springs, WV
Press contact only:  Jill Klein Rone  -- 304-258-3302
 PHOTOS AVAILABLE -- Contact Jeanne Mozier -- star@starwv.com

ACADEMY AWARDS OF WATER NAMES WINNERS
 BERKELEY SPRINGS, WV ----- A pair of Canadian waters took home the gold as both best tap water in the world, and best bottled at the 22nd annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting, in Berkeley Springs, WV.

Greenwood, British Columbia won the coveted best tasting tap water in the world with St. Henry, Ohio winning best in the USA.  The remaining places were claimed by American waters. Second place was Santa Ana, CA.  Three midwestern waters: Independence, MO, Oxford, MI and Lansing, MI claimed third, fourth and fifth places respectively.

The water tasting’s first Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to marketing guru and water executive James M. Stevens, widely credited with “inventing” the bottled water segment of the U.S. beverage industry when he introduced Perrier to America in the 1970s.  Stevens told the story of his efforts during the event’s seminar on Friday.  “We were pleased that Jim was able to join us at the seminar as well as the tasting,” said longtime watermaster, Arthur von Wiesenberger.  “There were groups of marketing students from around the region in attendance to hear some of his tips.”

 Not only did bottled water come literally from all over the globe to compete including Argentina, Japan, Bosnia and Belgium but Bulgarians, Koreans and Chinese accompanied their water entries to the event.  First-time entrant, Jackson Springs, Manitoba won best bottled water.  Second place was Virginia’s Best, Edinburg, VA while third was captured by hometown Berkeley Springs water bottled as Almost Heaven from Manassas, VA.  Pristine Springs from nearby Clear Springs, MD placed fourth and there was a tie for fifth: Palomar Mountain Premium Spring Water, Escondido, CA and Agana, Buda, TX.   A total of 30 bottled waters were tasted.

Ling Han, in attendance from Guangzhou, China accepted the first-ever Watermaster’s Golden Award of Excellence for Kunlun Mountains Natural Mineral Water. According to von Wiesenberger, Kunlun won because of their uncompromising and passionate devotion to the quality of their bottled water products especially in the area of purity.  “Not only are they one of the highest elevation bottling plants in the world making their source well protected from contamination,” he said, “but their plant is one of the most pristine I’ve ever seen.”  Han stated that receiving this world class award would make Chinese mineral waters confident that they could produce pure water to benefit all Chinese consumers.  “We are very proud,” she said.

More than 150 people watched at the Country Inn in Berkeley Springs on Saturday night as eleven media judges spent hours tasting and selecting from among 77 waters sourced in twenty states and nine foreign countries. There were 32 municipal waters from a dozen states, Canada and South Korea.  "We have seven former gold medalists entered this year,”  said Klein Rone, “more than ever before.”

For the second year in a row, the Bosnian water Esparanza won the title of best sparkling water in the world.  Second was Antipodes from Whakatane, New Zealand.  “This is always a favorite when I bring it to parties,” said Klein Rone who applauded the judges’ choice.  Entered for the first time in two decades, Perrier Springs from Vergeze, France took the bronze.  First time entrant, Source Saint-Elie from Quebec placed fourth and Mountain Valley from Hot Springs, AR placed fifth.   “Often the sparklings are all international,” said Klein Rone.  “It was good to have two American entries this year.  We were happy to welcome newcomer American Summit from Wyoming and their representatives.”  Eight sparkling waters entered.

The purified category was won by two-time gold medal winner, Claire Baie of Oak Creek, WI.  “They won the first year we had this category in 2001 and again in 2006,” reported Klein Rone. 

 "It was another wonderful year for the longest running and largest water tasting in the world," said von Wiesenberger. "Berkeley Springs is the granddaddy of them all."  

The crowd was interested in the peoples' choice packaging competition where it was their votes that chose which of the ten entrants was the most alluring.  MyCause Water, Mechanicsville, MD won first place.  “Their wavy lines and peekhole in the bottle captivated the crowd’s imagination,” said Klein Rone.   The sleek glass bottle of American Summit, Clark, WY took the silver.  HumanKind Water of Laurel Run, PA was third,  Source Saint-Elie of Quebec took fourth and Hawaii at Iolani Palace, Big Island, HI, fifth.

Conclusion of the daylong water tasting is the famed "water rush" where the audience is invited to take home hundreds of bottles of water sent as part of the judging.  "I spent about six hours arranging all the waters in a display," said Jeanne Mozier, an event founder.  "The crowd spent less than ten minutes making it all disappear.  It's like a Tibetan sand mandala," she laughed.  “I was pleased to see our favorite couple from Brooklyn in the rush.  Peter and Cynthia Lloyd come every year especially for the water tasting – and the rush.”

The eleven media judges selected by Klein Rone  included representatives from three major television networks and WV Public Radio as well as print outlets.  They were instructed by von Wiesenberger to look, sniff and taste each water under guidelines similar to those in a wine tasting. The waters were rated for each attribute including appearance (it should be clear - or slightly opaque for glacial waters), aroma (there should be none), taste (it should taste clean), mouth feel (it should feel light), aftertaste (it should leave you thirsty for more). Waters were tasted in four separate flights over two days.

The 23rd annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting is scheduled for Saturday, February 23, 2013.  For more information on Berkeley Springs or its water tasting, call 1-800-447-8797 or check online at www.berkeleysprings.com.

Best Municipal Water 2012
Best in the World – Greenwood, BC, Canada 
Best in the USA – St. Henry, OH
2nd place –Santa Ana, CA
3rd – Independence, MO
4th – Oxford, MI
5th – Lansing, MI
           
Best Bottled Water  2012
1st –  Jackson Springs Natural Premium Spring Water, MB, Canada
2nd – Virginia’s Best Natural Artesian Water, Edinburg, VA
3rd – Almost Heaven, Manassas,VA bottling Berkeley Springs water
4th – – Pristine Springs, Clear Springs, MD
5th – Palomar Mountain Premium Spring Water, Escondido, CA
5th – Agana, Buda, TX

Best Sparkling -- 2012
1st – Esperanza, Tesanj, Bosnia
2 – Antipodes, Whakatane, New Zealand
3 – Perrier Springs, Vergeze, France
4 – Source Saint-Elie, Saint-Elie-de-Caxton, PQ, Canada
5 – Mountain Valley Springs Water, Hot Springs, AR

Best Packaging -- 2012
1st – MyCause Water, Mechanicsville, MD
2nd – American Summit, Clark, WY
3rd – HumanKind Water – Laurel Run, PA
4th – Source Saint-Elie, Saint-Elie-de-Caxton, PQ, Canada
5th – Hawaii at Iolani Palace, Big Island, HI

Best Purified Drinking Water -- 2012
1st – Claire Baie, Oak Creek, WI (gold in 2001 and 2006)
2nd – Nestle Pure Life, Allentown, PA
3rd – Rain Fresh Oxygen-Rich Purified Water – Garland, TX
4th -- Berkeley Springs Purified Water - Berkeley Springs, WV
5th – Hamilton On Tap, Hamilton, OH 

Lifetime Achievement Award: James M. Stevens, Sr
Golden Award of Excellence: Kunlun Mountains Natural Mineral Water, China