Bottlemania Comes to Sydney

Today’s Sun-Herald has a piece entitled “Turning Water into Wine“, which reports that the prestigious Kable’s restaurant in Sydney’s Four Seasons hotel has launched its first “water menu”. Here you get a tantalising array of choices for how to flush your money away. My favourite is a 750mL bottle of Cloud Juice rainwater from King Island for a mere $20! At first I thought it must be a joke, straight out of an episode of Penn and Teller‘s take-no-prisoners, nonsense-busting series, Bullshit.

Of course, I should not really be surprised. Bottled water is big business these days. Elizabeth Royte, author of Bottlemania, estimates that globally it is a $60 billion dollar a year industry. It is safe to assume that the beneficiaries of this industry are even now concocting new ways to convince us all to pay ever more ludicrous sums for the privilege of imbibing a glass of humble H20.

Halfway through the Bullshit segment, Penn and Teller set-up a sting in a California restaurant. A water menu was created featuring bottled water with fancy names and fancier pedigrees. Patrons were assisted in their decision-making by “the world’s first water steward”. Despite the fact that all the bottles contained the same tap-water, dinner guests waxed lyrical about the delights of these exotic watery treats. I can imagine the same thing happening at Kable’s. Reality imitating satire!

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7 thoughts on “Bottlemania Comes to Sydney

  1. Stephen Kelly

    I have never been a fan of paying for bottled water, as you never know where that water came from anyway, and I always think of evian spelt backwards is naive when it comes to bottle water

  2. Neerav

    Hi Sean

    I read the same Sun-herald article and was disappointed to see this stupid trend had spread to Sydney

    Bottled water is an intelligence test ie: those who waste $$ buying it are not intelligent.

    Anyone interested in the topic should read this article Bottled Water or Bottled Environmental Damage? by Jeff Angel (Director of the Total Environment Centre).

  3. Ian Lyons

    I think we need to start a petition against Di-hydrogen Oxide – just a little in the lungs kills.

  4. Tim

    For some further ammunition in the argument against paying stupid money for nicely packaged H2O see

    I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised at the frequency tap water is offered alongside bottled water in Sydney. Despite an intense campaign by the Daily Mail in the UK its rare tap water is made available unless you specifically ask.

  5. CV

    Timing is everything. And now would seem to be the right time to briefly comment on the above maddness. With the worlds financial markets imploding day-by-day, a global economic recession around the corner, emerging market countries scampering off to the IMF for bailout loans, unemployment rising, and on and on, it would be very interesting to hear from our friends at Kable’s about how their “water menu” is holding up. Is it still holding water? Or, has it leaked all over the floor like the wealth from Kable’s clientele who have possibly confused brains with a bull market.

    Paying a hefty premium for bottled water will eventually go down in history as one of the greatest scams ever thought up…and there is obviously some stiff competition in that area – think assigning a AAA-rating to a sub-prime CDO for arguments sake. The fact that some people will pay north of 20 bucks for a bottle of water should give us all some hope. Hope in the sense that there still exists a cohort of really stupid and entirely gullible people in society that can be exploited for business purposes if we can come up with an (un)appropriate scam.

    A key ingredient when setting up a scam is to make sure it’s labeled to “sound French”. It’s bound to get those with fat wallets and small IQ’s in every time. For instance, I’d have no hesitation in labeling my creation “branleur”. Inside would be lavish helpings of “arnaguer” and to finish off I would maket it with a simple tag line of “vol”. Watch this space…

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