Making a splash: Less expensive bottled water from Vero Water
Vero Water takes on pricier options with an eco twist.
The soft, crystal water comes in an interesting bottle like Voss, with an exotic name that sounds rather Floridian. But it costs just $2 for each green bottle — not $5, $7 or more.
Perrier, San Pellegrino, Evian, Volvic? No, make mine Vero.
Vero Water has become a fashionable and eco-friendly alternative to more expensive waters at restaurants all across Florida, including the Ritz- Carlton in Naples; Shore Diner in Sarasota; and Pubbelly, Makoto and Fisher Island Club in Miami, as well as resort hotels and upscale restaurants around the country, including Mario Batali’s del Posto in New York.
The water hasn’t been pumped from Florida springs into bottles and then shipped around the nation. The H2O is locally sourced — tap water from the local municipality that’s been purified via a fivestage filtration system and marketed in handsome bottles marked with a blue butterfly V.
Vero, the smart Florida startup that has put those bottles on thousands of tabletops in three years, created the filtering machines, which it leases to the restaurants, hotels and resorts. It also supplies the reusable bottles. Restaurants pay $350 to $450 per month on a two-year lease plus supplies.
Waiters now can boast that the water is “local’’ and “house-made.” Yet whether the ingredient is Los Angeles water or Houston tap, it should taste the same, says founder David Deshe — like, well, Vero water. Deshe comes by his entrepreneurial bent naturally: His father created the American Eagle and Designer Shoe Warehouse chains.
Vero Water is calculated to generate plenty of environmental appeal by avoiding the heavy carbon footprint of transporting bottled water across distances, and also the waste of used bottles.
But Vero’s main appeal is economic.
So far, many high-end restaurants with culinary aspirations are finding they can make money selling Vero at $2 a bottle even if they decide to keep selling higher priced waters like Perrier to brand loyalists.
At Tryst, a “gastro lounge’’ on St. Peterburg’s Beach Drive, manager Shellie Edmunds is sold on Vero. "I’m very particular about what I drink — my wines, my coffee. I absolutely adore this water."