>Bottler delivers a buzz with caffeinated water:
> -- by Dianna Bisswurm, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
>MILWAUKEE -- First there was artesian water, a natural drink.
> Then there was coffee, with its jolt of caffeine.
> Now, in a merger of two of the hotter products in the beverage
>industry, there is caffeinated water.
> Water Joe, bottled in Crivitz, Wis., by Nicolet Forest Bottling Co.,
>went on the market three months ago in Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago.
>Today, 69210 bottle a week are being shipped to nine Midwestern states,
>said David Holdener, president of Nicolet Forest.
> The product, which tastes like water, sells for about 89 cents
>(U.S.) for a half-litre bottle. The amount of caffeine in the water
>equals that in one cup of coffee, the bottler says.
> "It's really meeting all of our expectations," said Rick Nap,
>Wisconsin representative for Nicolet. "The key thing we want consumers
>to realize is it's a caffeine alternative in a healthier format."
> David Marcheschi, now a 29-year-old real estate broker in Chicago,
>came up with the idea of putting caffeine in water when he was trying to
>stay awake while studying at Arizona State University. He found a
>chemist who created the proper formula, and Mr. Marcheschi then created a
>company, Johnny Beverages Inc., to market the concept.
> Chris Connor, a 34-year-old furniture company owner, joined Mr.
>Marcheschi to help sell the idea.
> They spent a year promoting the concept before Nicolet Forest joined
>the project. The eight-year-old company entered a joint venture with Mr.
>Marcheschi and Mr. Connor to help finance Water Joe's production and
>distribution. Neither side would disclose the investment.
> Water Joe makes up less than 10 per cent of Nicolet's total sales.
>The 18-employee company mainly bottles non-caffeinated artesian water.
> Water Joe's target market is working people and students, both of
>whom need a shot of caffeine at times. The drink doesn't have the bitter
>taste and staining attributed to coffee, Mr. Marcheschi says.
> His challenge is to distinguish Water Joe from the 50 or so bottled
>water labels that can crowd supermarket shelves. Mr. Marcheschi's
>solution: He wants stores to place the drink closer to coffee items on
> That kind of talk is a jolt to people in the coffee industry.
> Robert Nelson, president of the National Coffee Association of
>America, took a long pause and could only respond "What?" when a reporter
>described Water Joe. Mr. Nelson and others in the beverage industry
>could not recall a drink like it; Mr. Nelson went so far as to call Water
> "People don't just drink coffee for the caffeine," he said, after
>gathering his thoughts. "They drink it for the overall experience of
>coffee, which includes aroma and taste."
> Water Joe has received corporate approval for shelf space in many
>Piggly Wiggly, Pick 'n Save, Target and Walgreens stores in the Midwest.
> The company also is test marketting five-gallon water cooler refills
>of Water Joe in offices.
> Nicolet Forest and Johnny Beverage also are working to produce a
>one-litre bottle and a pop-up sports nozzle to replace the twist cap by