Bottled water- who could ever, outside of professional con men such as P.T. Barnum and Soapy Smith, would ever have thought that it would be possible to put water in a bottle and actually get someone to buy it, except, perhaps nomads crossing the Sahara (they, however, did not have bottles until recently and even those are bleached out ones that have floated across the Mediteranian from Spain. They did have goat skin bags, but these tended to make the water taste gamey and therefore hard to sell).
You can tell selling bottled water is a big business when the Coca-cola Company, famous for putting all sorts of sugar and flavorings and carbonation in their drinks starts selling basic drinking water without so much as a trace of addictive elements in it. Perrier kicked the whole thing off sending us gazillions of little green bottles of it from France as though we had no idea what drinking water even was. Needless to say, it was the biggest thing from France to hit the beach since the Statue of Liberty was towed up. People, mostly city folks that didn't know that water originally comes from lakes and streams and not directly from pipes, said "Oh, look! Water from France! It must be something special and not from pipes like we get it! Let's buy it!" And they did, making the Perrier Company rich enough to lease all the rain clouds over Europe.
Now Alaska, which is so wet that people could drink their fill out of what they get in their boots everyday, you would think would be an exception. Alas, no. I have been given a couple of bottles of the stuff (I'm trying to give it up, but the cravings just don't quit.) that I found interesting. The first one, a fine delectable with a delicate bouquet, turned out to be from Wyoming.
Pick one state (excluding Nevada) that is the dryist, most desert-like, most arid place you can imagine (outside of Bible-Belt Comedy Clubs) and, if you have any knowledge of U.S. geography you would say "Wyoming" (provided you had never heard of Nevada). Wyoming is so dry that even their moose have sinus conditions. Wyoming is so dry that earthwooms have been known to migrate up to Montana for some relief. People in Wyoming can't figure out what you use sponges for. People don't know it but all tumbleweeds start up in Wyoming. It is so dry they just figure "Why even bother growing roots? There is nothing down there to suck up anyway!"
Which brings me to the second bottle of water. It was a fine bottle, vintage 2003. It came from South Africa.
South Africa? Isn't South Africa where they have the Kalahari Desert, one of the dryest places on earth? And they are sending their water to a place where it rains enough in a year to make a whole new ocean if we could dig fast enough and move those annoying mountains out of the way? I mean, it's nice that the South Africans are able to send exports around the world now after years of Apartheid boycotting, but why don't they send us something more practical like some of their diamonds? Take a globe of the earth (preferably a round one) and find the place on the planet that is on the exact opposite side of the world from Alaska. That's right, South Africa! That's a heck of a long way for that bottle of water to come. WE should be sending them OUR water! Come on now, you don't send the mountains to Mohammed, as the saying goes! They are the ones with the desert!
All this brings me to a great idea for a new project. First off, think of this: what is Alaska's biggest liquid asset? That's right-rain, and we've got plenty of it. Water is to Alaska what hair is to a bear, what buzz is to a bee, what Moby Dick is to Captain Ahab, what rocks are to the Rocky Mountains, what plastic surgery is to Cher. Everyone reading this in AK (I can't do this alone!) get out any instrument that can hold water, -ie. pots, pans, cups really absorbant paper towels, bathtubs, old socks, anything- and stick them outside the next time it rains (which will probably be in the next 20 minutes) and collect it. We'll bottle it and call it 'Alaskan Cordial'. We'll make a mint! I'll divide the profits 80/20 with the state (I get the higher percentage for thinking of it).
Now, the tough thing is how to market it here in Alaska. Without an alcohol content it will be a hard sell.