Yesterday, I poked a bit of fun at Martin Riese. He's a Los Angeles-based "water sommelier" who markets a line of luxury water called Beverly Hills 90H20.
I said, perhaps a little flippantly, that "people with too much money" are consulting Riese. He emailed me to insist that his services, and his water, are not just luxuries for the rich:
I feel a bit sorry that you might not understand the importance of a variety by water. In Germany we have over 580 different mineral water brands. All waters have different TDS levels (total dissolved solids), meaning different mineral content. Therefore water can taste different and has an impact on food and other beverages. For example on my water list I have a water with a TDS level from under 10 and it rises to a water with a TDS level over 3500.
The problem in America is that a lot of brands you can buy is actual purified water, that means tap water, filtered and bottled. We do not need to discuss the quality of tap water in America, I think especially here in L.A. it's safe to say it's unhealthy to drink.
Therefore is has nothing to do with rich people it has something to do with people who want to live a healthier lifestyle.
Did I mention that Beverly Hills 90H20 costs $164 per case and comes in individually numbered glass bottles?
I reached out to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to ask them about Riese's claim that L.A. water is unsafe to drink. Spokeswoman Michelle Vargas says he's all wet:
Our Water Quality Division regularly samples the water distribution system, and conducts more than 240,000 water quality tests annually for compliance, research and operational improvements. LADWP continues to meet and exceed all federal and more stringent California water quality guidelines ensuring that L.A.’s water is indeed safe to drink.
No word on how L.A. tap water pairs with a seasonal salad.
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