ST. LOUIS/THORLAKSHOFN, Iceland (July 18, 2007) – Anheuser-Busch, Inc. and Icelandic Water Holdings ehf jointly announced today Anheuser-Busch will become the master distributor for Icelandic Glacial super-premium natural spring water in the United States, effective immediately. Anheuser-Busch has taken a 20 percent equity interest in Icelandic Water Holdings as part of the agreement.
Icelandic Glacial is a naturally pure, high-quality spring water sourced exclusively from the Olfus Spring in Southwest Iceland, which was formed during a volcanic eruption more than 4,500 years ago. The spring is one of the largest in the world and is protected by a barrier of lava rock. The water is piped directly from the Olfus Spring and packaged at Icelandic Glacial’s state-of-the-art bottling facility in Thorlákshöfn, Iceland. Icelandic Water Holdings controls the sole commercial rights to bottle and sell water from the Ölfus Spring in Thorlakshofn.
This deal will give Icelandic Glacial natural spring water access to more consumers through Anheuser-Busch’s strong network of wholesalers across the country. It also provides Anheuser-Busch distributors with a pure, high-end natural spring water to compete in the fast-growing, nearly $11 billion U.S. bottled water market at a time when consumer demand for superior-quality water is increasing. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Icelandic Water Holdings has plans to build a new 70,000-square-foot bottling facility on 1,500 acres in Hlidarendi, Iceland. The new facility will enable Icelandic Water Holdings to meet increased consumer demand for Icelandic Glacial natural spring water and make more bottled water available for Anheuser-Busch’s distribution network in the United States. In keeping with the company’s ongoing commitment to minimizing its impact on the environment, the new facility will incorporate a sophisticated Building Energy Management System that reflects their CarbonNeutral® status announced just last month. Icelandic Glacial is the first super-premium bottled water distributed in the United States to receive this certification in recognition for its ongoing commitment to reduce its overall carbon imprint on the environment.
Icelandic Glacial natural spring water was introduced in the United States in November 2005, and also is available in Canada, Iceland and selected markets throughout mainland Europe. The brand currently is available in a limited number of U.S. markets through a variety of local beverage distributors, including tests with a few Anheuser-Busch wholesalers.
Icelandic Water Holdings will transition distribution to the Anheuser-Busch network effective immediately. Initial distribution will focus on select markets – including California, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – with plans to expand nationwide in 2008. Icelandic Water Holdings will continue to oversee all sales and marketing for the brand in the United States.
“Icelandic Glacial is pure natural spring water imported from one of the cleanest, most natural environments in the world, which gives it a competitive advantage in the United States’ high-end bottled water market,” said August A. Busch IV, president and chief executive officer of Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. “Our business landscape is changing, and we are looking for opportunities outside the alcohol beverage category to fuel additional growth for our company and our wholesalers. We believe Icelandic Glacial natural spring water has tremendous potential in the United States when combined with the strength of our distribution network.”
According to recent statistics from the International Bottled Water Association and Beverage Marketing Corporation, U.S. bottled water volume increased 9.5 percent in 2006 with sales exceeding $10.8 billion. The super-premium segment in which Icelandic Glacial competes in the United States is relatively small, but profitable and rapidly growing. According to a 2006 survey conducted by Zenith International, the U.S. market for super-premium, imported water sales grew by nearly 20 percent in value during 2005 due to increased recognition and demand for quality by U.S. consumers.
“Anheuser-Busch immediately understood the value to consumers of our rare source of naturally and exceptionally pure spring water,” said Jon Olafsson, executive chairman of Icelandic Water Holdings ehf, parent company of Icelandic Glacial. “We have a shared commitment to provide consumers access to the highest-quality natural spring water in the world, something that can only be found thousands of miles from major sources of pollution. This has become a highly coveted resource, and Anheuser-Busch can now pave the way for broad consumer access.”
Anheuser-Busch wholesalers will distribute Icelandic Glacial natural spring water in 500-milliliter, 750-milliliter sports-cap, 1-liter PET bottles, and 500-milliliter PET bottle six-packs. Icelandic Glacial’s distinct packaging features square, ice-chunk bottles with four different Icelandic landscape label designs wrapped around each bottle.
About Icelandic Glacial Natural Spring Water
Icelandic Glacial is the product of Icelandic Water Holdings ehf, which was founded in April 2004 and is located in Thorlakshofn, Iceland. Largely uninhabited and pollution free, Iceland has one of the cleanest environments on the planet. The source of this legendary water is the Olfus Spring, a naturally replenished catchment zone formed during a massive volcanic eruption more than 4,500 years ago. The local government is particularly appreciative of the need to protect this valuable resource and has applied an exclusion zone around the spring. For more information on Icelandic Glacial, see www.Icelandicglacial.com.
Based in St. Louis, Anheuser-Busch is the leading American brewer, holding a 48.4 percent share of U.S. beer sales. The company brews the world’s largest-selling beers, Budweiser and Bud Light. Anheuser-Busch also owns a 50 percent share in Grupo Modelo, Mexico’s leading brewer, and a 27 percent share in China brewer Tsingtao, whose namesake beer brand is the country’s best-selling premium beer. Anheuser-Busch ranked No. 1 among beverage companies in FORTUNE Magazine’s Most Admired U.S. and Global Companies lists in 2007. Anheuser-Busch is one of the largest theme park operators in the United States, is a major manufacturer of aluminum cans and one of the world’s largest recyclers of aluminum cans.