JUST looks to quench thirst for sparkling water

One consumer product to benefit in 2020’s pandemic year was bottled water, with sales spiking 8% in the early days of lockdown, according to one analysis.

“The pandemic resulted in relatively strong sales of bottled water and further solidified its status as a necessary staple product in the minds of many core category consumers,” says Caleb Bryant, a food and drink sector analyst for market researcher Mintel.

Writing in Mintel’s 2021 market report on “still” and sparkling water, Bryant says the former saw sales slow as the year went on but the latter “continues to perform strongly.”

Others agree: Grand View Research, in a 2021 to 2028 global market analysis, says the sparkling segment – carbonated or “fizzy” water – is expected to be the fastest-growing, thanks in large part to demand in the U.S., France, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Count JUST Goods Inc. in Queensbury among the producers looking to quench that thirst.

The company, which buys excess spring water from the city of Glens Falls for its JUST Water, a still product, launched a sparkling sibling, JUST Bubbles, in the fall. Like the still, Bubbles has a unique angle: It comes in an aluminum bottle.

JUST Water, you’ll recall, is packaged in paperboard cartons rather than plastic. Sustainability and recyclability were key elements in the company’s founding with the backing of actor Will Smith and his family.

The sparkling water, though, comes not from the Adirondacks via the Glens Falls watershed, but from the Big Snowy Mountains in central Montana.

Why Montana? I can’t say for sure.

JUST’s website indicates that “our factory in New York isn’t able to bottle sparkling water,” so the company went looking for another abundant, mountain-sourced supply and found it in Montana.

Jim Siplon, a one-time JUST executive who now heads economic development efforts at EDC Warren County in Glens Falls, deferred a query about the capabilities of the Queensbury plant to the company. JUST spokeswoman Kara Rubin told me by email this week that she was “not able to comment on your questions at this time.”

The company’s website says Bubbles’ Montana water source is a deep spring that produces 90 million gallons daily. As with the Adirondacks, Big Snowy gives the water its “unique mineral content,” which in turn delivers a crisp taste.

That content is important, too, to the carbon dioxide gas that makes a still spring water sparkling, according to a post on the JUST website that details in “nerd out” fashion how the minerals attract the CO2 molecules to produce “micro bubbles” – which give Bubbles a “drinkably bubbly experience.”

The sparkling water is sold in packs of 24 bottles on JUST’s website and via Amazon. Prices for the pack – in plain, lemon or lime flavors – are about $20 more than similar packs of the still water, which also come plain or with infused flavors.

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