'Water Bars' Are a Thing Now
Martin Riese is introducing the U.S. to a new phenomenom called, water bars: bars that serve just water.
The 38-year-old German citizen is a water sommelier (yes, that’s a thing) and created his first water menu at the First Floor restaurant in Berlin, and then went on to co-write the book “The World of Water” in 2008, which is basically a book on how to taste water.
In 2013, he was recruited by the Patina Restaurant Group to create a 46-page water menu at Ray’s and Stark Bar in Los Angeles.
“Some of them said ‘Only in LA’ and their eyes were rolling and everything,” Riese told Yahoo! News, but it turns out that tasting water is good business. How good? Well, profits at the bar jumped 500% and his water menu has expanded to two other locations, including the Hollywood Bowl.
“[Customers] are going into the water menu, looking for different springs, saying ‘I like this, this has so much sodium, this has so much magnesium,’” he says. “You have so many interested Americans who are so amazed and concerned about what they are doing to their body.”
Riese has been interested in water since he was a child, discovering new springs on family vacations.
“I realized that water tasted differently in every single city,” he said. “This was the most interesting thing for me when I was on vacation.”
However, Riese soon learned that American water is quite different than the water he’s been accustomed to drinking in Europe.
“I didn’t know that in America it’s very difficult to get the spring water to have on my water menu,” Rises said. “Most of the water you find on your grocery store shelves is purified water, which means it’s actually nothing more than tap water.”
Riese’s extensive menu features spring water from all over the world, with the most expensive water coming from a 15,000 year-old Canadian glacier. The price for that tasty water is a cool $20 for a 750 ml bottle.
The success of Riese’s water menu comes at a time when Americans are searching for healthier alternatives to soft drinks. U.S. consumers spent $18.8 billion on bottled water last year alone, according to Euromonitor International.
“People are starting to rethink the use of everything. Which kind of food I’m eating, what kind of wine I’m drinking, what kind of beer I’m drinking, what kind of water I’m drinking,” Riese says. “That’s the reason why you’re seeing premium and fine waters suddenly popping up in America.”
Though we’re all for Americans choosing healthier lifestyles, we don’t condone the use of plastic bottles. There’s already 260,000 tones of plastic clogging the world’s ocean, most of which are plastic disposable bottles. We don’t need anymore. Perhaps there’s a way for consumers, and for Riese, to serve up water in reusable and recyclable containers.