February 6, 2007


And the man behind the brand is...
Louis Perrier

Dr. Louis Perrier was a French physician and entrepreneur. That his name should be recognizable across America is a fluke of commercial and social history. In 1903, Perrier and English aristocrat St. John Harnsworth joined forces to purchase the historic natural spring in Vergeze, France. Emperor Napoleon III stated in 1863 that the spring waters of Vergeze should be bottled “for the good of France.”

This the partners did, selling the sparkling waters in green 23-ounce bottles. Perrier advertised his drink as “the champagne of bottled waters” and sold it for nearly $1.00 a bottle. Accordingly Perrier was available only in gourmet and specialty-food shops for decades and decades.

Then fitness and health consciousness hit America in the late 1970s. From 1980 until 1989 the bottled water industry grew from an $80 million business to one accounting for almost three billion dollars in sales. Perrier spent the most money the earliest in the boom and became so popular many people assumed Perrier invented bottled water. Suddenly everyone knew Louis Perrier’s name, a doctor from France.

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