News & Media

News & Media

Apr 11, 2008

Bans do nothing but take away choice

Restaurants in the Gateway to the West, St. Louis, have joined a few other restaurants nationwide that have stopped selling bottled water to customers.  About 30 restaurants across the U.S. have done this, out of the 945,000 eateries the National Restaurant Association has on record.

And starting this spring, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, City Hall will no longer buy bottled water for employees, planning to cancel about $20,000 in contracts with local vendors.

However, these bans don’t come down to a bottled water versus tap water issue.  This is a consumer choice issue.  Many people preferred bottled water over tap.  Bottles are a great alternative.  Some people prefer bottled water for its good taste, convenience and health aspects over more unhealthy beverage choices.  By banning bottled water in restaurants, those places could end up hurting business more than they think they are helping it.

Take the example of Tony’s, a AAA five-diamond Italian restaurant in downtown St. Louis:

“A lot of people want bottled water,” said Vincent J. Bommarito, owner of Tony’s in St. Louis. “It’s the first thing we say: Good evening, do you want tap or bottled water?”

Bommarito says his sales of bottled water have shot up in the past decade, though he hesitated to sell it at first.

“It sounded like a hustle — to sell them water when they can get it for free,” he added. “But customers want it.”

Indeed, you can get some water for free.  But some people choose to pay for the additional benefits of the bottle.

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled waters. Founded in 1958, IBWA's membership includes U.S. and international bottlers, distributors and suppliers. IBWA is committed to working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, and state governments to set stringent standards for safe, high quality bottled water products. Additionally, IBWA requires member bottlers to adhere to the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice, which mandates additional standards and practices that in some cases are more stringent than federal and state regulations. A key feature of the IBWA Model Code is an annual plant inspection by an independent, third party organization.

For more information about IBWA, bottled water and a list of member‚ brands, please contact
Jill Culora, IBWA‚ Vice President of Communications at 703-647-4609 or [email protected].


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