1986 advert for Perrier water.
Perrier is a brand of bottled mineral water made from a spring in Vergèze in the Gard département of France. Perrier is naturally carbonated. Both the water and natural carbonic gas are captured independently and the carbonic gas is added in the bottling phase. Perrier claims that the level of carbonation in every bottle of Perrier is the same as the water of the Vergèze spring.
Perrier is available in Europe in one litre, 750 ml, and 500 ml bottles, and in 330 ml cans. All Perrier bottles are green and have a distinctive shape.
It is one of the most common bottled waters in France. In August 2001 the company introduced a new bottling format using polyethylene terephthalate to offer Perrier in plastic, a change that took 11 years to decide which material would best help retain both the water’s flavor and its purported “50 million bubbles.”
Perrier comes in five flavors. Unflavored, lemon, and lime are the oldest flavors. In 2007, a new Citron Lemon-Lime flavor debuted. In France, another new flavor, Pamplemousse Rose (Pink Grapefruit), is gaining popularity as well.
Since 2002, new varieties of Perrier have been introduced in France, Eau de Perrier is less carbonated than the original, and comes in a blue bottle. Perrier Fluo comes in “trendy” flavors such as ginger-cherry, peppermint, orange-litchi, raspberry, and ginger-lemon.
The spring from which Perrier is drawn was called Les Bouillens. It has been used as a spa since Roman times. Local doctor Louis Perrier bought the spring in 1898 and operated a commercial spa there; he also bottled the water for sale. He later sold the spring to Sir Saint-John Harmsworth, a wealthy British visitor. Harmsworth was the younger brother of the newspaper magnates Lord Northcliffe and Lord Rothermere. He had come to France to learn the language. Dr. Perrier showed him the spring, and he decided to buy it. He sold his share of the family newspapers to raise the money. Harmsworth closed the spa, as spas were becoming unfashionable. He renamed the spring Source Perrier and started bottling the water in distinctive green bottles. The shape was that of the Indian clubs Harmsworth used for exercise.
Harmsworth marketed the product in Britain at a time when Frenchness was a desirable thing to the middle classes. It was advertised as the champagne of mineral water. (There was a genuine champagne by the name of Perrier but no real connection.) Advertising in newspapers like the Daily Mail established the brand. Some 95% of sales were in Britain and the U.S.
Perrier’s reputation for purity suffered a blow in 1990 when a North Carolina study reported having found benzene in the water source. Perrier shifted from explanation to explanation on the issue, finally stating that it was an isolated incident of a worker having made a mistake in the filtering procedure and that the spring itself was unpolluted. The incident ultimately led to the recall of 160 million bottles of Perrier.
From 1981 to 2005, the company sponsored an annual comedy award in the United Kingdom, the Perrier Comedy Award. In 2006 it was announced that Perrier would no longer sponsor the award, which were renamed after their new sponsor, Intelligent Finance.
In 2004, a crisis erupted when the Nestlé group, owner of Perrier, announced a restructuring plan for Perrier. In 2005, Perrier was ordered to halt restructuring, because of a failure to consult adequately with staff.
Info taken from Wikipedia