The Good Life

Malaki, VEEN and EvocusH2O are redefining the meaning of bottled water

From gold flakes to black alkaline water, these premium bottled water brands go beyond simply quenching your thirst

For Indian mothers, there are two cures for every ailment in the world — stop using your phone and drink more water. The first one is almost impossible to adhere to, but the latter advice is rightfully gathering momentum across the world, with celebrities recommending it for clear skin to entrepreneurs developing apps to send hourly reminders. While the humble drink’s miraculous properties are no surprise, brands such as Malaki, VEEN and EvocusH2O are taking it up a notch to provide consumers with a luxe experience whenever they take a sip of water.

Started in 2014, Mumbai-based Malaki has brought back the royal custom of kings being served water in gold canisters, with their own new twist. “It is believed that gold was used for its medicinal and healing purposes during ancient times,” says Ashish Bhatia, co-founder, Malaki. Thus, the brand has launched gold-charged water, which is priced at Rs.699 for a 375ml bottle. “The process to charge the water takes around 15 days. And, to give it some bling, we also put pure edible 24-carat gold flakes in it,” explains Bhatia adding that it is the champagne of waters.

With claims of rejuvenating the body and restoring youth and perfect health, Malaki has on-boarded clients like the Taj Hotels, Bar Stock Exchange and Radio bar. The brand also exports its product to United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and is already in talks with the US and European countries.

Speaking of Europe, Finnish Lapland is where VEEN waters found its origin. “It is an extremely remote, unpopulated and unpolluted part of the world,” says Ganesh Iyer, director operations - Indian subcontinent, VEEN and India's first and only water sommelier. Over the past few years, the company has found unique natural spring sources, including one in carbon-negative Bhutan, from where it produces distinctive bottled water products of individual characteristics. “Springs are free flowing water through the surface of the earth. One has to undertake a hydro geology study to determine scope and the flow of water, fluctuations in the flow and the study of rocks,” explains Iyer.

All this hard work produces water that is unspoiled by nitrate (0mg per liter). The water is then packaged in food grade flint glass bottles as per US FDA standards. “This helps in maintaining the neutrality of the mineral composition even after a year,” says Iyer. Hotels retail VEEN Natural Mineral Water 660ml at anything between Rs.225-300 and VEEN Sparkling Mineral Water 660ml at Rs.300-450. Marquee hotels like ITC Sheraton, Conrad, Fairmont, Neemrana, Radisson and restaurant chains like House of Celeste, Bastian, Black Sheep Bistro, Farzi Café, are some of VEEN’s Indian clients.

Another revolutionising product is EvocusH2O by AV Organics. It is a new-age, alkaline bottled water, which gets its unique black colour from the 70+ minerals sourced from the depths of the Earth. “We extract the core mineral complex from the crust, at a rare deposit located in Texas, USA,” says Aakash Vaghela, co-founder, AV Organics. After refining, the mineral complex is brought to India and infused with purified river water to enrich it. With a pH level of more than 8, EvocusH2O claims to fight acidity problems, detoxify the body and improve metabolism. It is priced at Rs.150 for a 330ml bottle and a pack of 24 costs Rs.3,600.

Along with Hyatt, Golden Tulip, Marriott and Trident Hotels as clients, Evocus has also onboarded corporate partners such as Amazon, Dell, Deloitte, Oracle, TCS and Wipro. It has also received praise from nutritionist Pooja Makhija and celebrity trainer Yasmin Karachiwala. “Going forward, we intend to roll out one new product every year for the next five years. These would be innovative products under the health and wellness category,” says Vaghela.

While the price points of these bottled water brands might seem a bit too much for a country where Re.1 water pouches do the job, the brands argue that their target consumers are those who really care about their health. “From Rs.160 billion in 2018, the organised sector of bottled water market is expected to reach approximately Rs.403.06 billion by the end of 2023,” says Iyer.

So, if drinking more water was your New Year resolution for 2020, maybe it is time to finally get to it in style, if you can afford it.