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Bottled water with a conscience

Winnipeg-based Tabl'eau aims for global market

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/10/2011 (2772 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Deb Belinsky believes drinking water shouldn't have to travel farther than from the nearest tap to get to your table.

After attending a dinner in Memphis a couple of years ago at which the bottled water cost more than the wine -- that can happen at $12 for a bottle of water -- she began researching statistics on bottled water and was astounded by what she found.

For starters, she discovered only one in five water bottles is recycled, leaving the other four to contribute to three billion pounds of waste.

In an effort to reduce that pile one bottle at a time, she has launched Tabl'eau Filtered Water, a new Winnipeg-based company that provides water filtration and chiller systems and reusable bottles to restaurants and hotels. (The name is a play on table and the French word for water.)

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/10/2011 (2772 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Deb Belinsky believes drinking water shouldn't have to travel farther than from the nearest tap to get to your table.

After attending a dinner in Memphis a couple of years ago at which the bottled water cost more than the wine — that can happen at $12 for a bottle of water — she began researching statistics on bottled water and was astounded by what she found.

Deb Belinsky

JEFF DE BOOY / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES

Deb Belinsky

For starters, she discovered only one in five water bottles is recycled, leaving the other four to contribute to three billion pounds of waste.

In an effort to reduce that pile one bottle at a time, she has launched Tabl'eau Filtered Water, a new Winnipeg-based company that provides water filtration and chiller systems and reusable bottles to restaurants and hotels. (The name is a play on table and the French word for water.)

Its filtration technology eliminates 99 per cent of contaminants from local water, produces a high-quality product and reduces the carbon footprint.

Tabl'eau had a soft launch in Winnipeg a few weeks ago and already a number of hotels and restaurants are on board.

Belinsky wasn't fooling around when she decided to make her official launch this week, though — in Abu Dhabi. She said she went halfway around the globe because the United Arab Emirates is the third-largest consumer of bottled water in the world. It didn't hurt that there's also a film festival going on there, too.

"There are celebrities here, and social media goes well with celebrities," she said from Abu Dhabi.

Belinsky said she realizes the idea of filtering water wasn't new, but nobody had created a brand around it the way a soft-drink company would. With unique hand-made bottles with no markings except a logo on the neck, she wants Tabl'eau to become iconic as a sustainable way of life.

"When somebody sees our bottle from across the room, I'd like it to be immediately identifiable with a lifestyle choice. It's about responsibility and it asks the question, 'How far does your water have to travel?' The brand will never tell people to make the choice; the choice gets put back in the consumers' hands. I'm not selling the bottle, I'm selling what it takes to make that choice," she said.

Noel Bernier, who runs Hermanos, a South American-styled restaurant in the Exchange District, said his eatery was the first in the city to sign up for Tabl'eau's services a few weeks ago.

Morning Star Bunn and Leonard Wong enjoy some Tabl'eau Filtered Water out of its distinctive reusable bottle at Hermanos restaurant.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Morning Star Bunn and Leonard Wong enjoy some Tabl'eau Filtered Water out of its distinctive reusable bottle at Hermanos restaurant.

"It's a fantastic-tasting product. We really liked the idea of having a sustainable non-tap-water option. A good portion of our clientele will choose the bottled-water option no matter what information is out there. It doesn't make a lot of sense to haul bottled water all over Canada or the world, for that matter," he said.

Bernier said he likes it so much he has decided to offer Tabl'eau's non-sparkling water free to his diners and the sparkling version for a nominal charge.

A native Winnipegger, Belinsky lived in nine cities across North America over the past 14 years as she worked in the sports-event business. When she decided to start Tabl'eau, the growth and environment in her hometown made the relocation choice an easy one.

"I could have put this business anywhere. I picked Winnipeg on purpose. I like where it's going and I like the stability," she said.

Those words are music to the ears of Bill Morrissey, leader of Yes! Winnipeg, an organization charged with helping city businesses expand and convincing new ones to move here. He said he is "very impressed" with Belinsky and where she wants to take her new enterprise.

"She's got a global view. It's one thing to serve the market within our region, but she has her eyes set on national and international distribution. If we can help her to launch what will hopefully be a global product offering out of Winnipeg, that's exactly what we're wanting to do," he said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

 

 

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