||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia. (September 2012)|
|All values in milligrams per liter (mg/l)|
The spring is naturally carbonated. Both the water and natural carbon dioxide gas are captured independently. Then in the bottling process, the carbon dioxide gas is added so that the level of carbonation in bottled Perrier is the same as the water of the Vergèze spring.
Perrier is available in Europe in one liter, 750 ml, and 500 ml bottles, and in 33 cl cans. Most Perrier bottles are green and all have a distinctive 'teardrop' shape. In August 2001, the company introduced a new bottling format using polyethylene terephthalate to offer Perrier in plastic, a change that took 11 years to decide which material would best help retain both the water's flavor and its purported "50 million bubbles."
Since 2002, new varieties of Perrier have been introduced in France, Eau de Perrier is less carbonated than the original, and comes in a blue bottle. Perrier Fluo comes in "trendy" flavors such as ginger-cherry, peppermint, orange-lychee, raspberry, and ginger-lemon.
The spring in Southern France from which Perrier is drawn was called Les Bouillens. It has been used as a spa since Roman times. Local doctor Louis Perrier bought the spring in 1898 and operated a commercial spa there; he also bottled the water for sale. He later sold the spring to St.John Harmsworth, a wealthy British visitor. Harmsworth was the younger brother of the newspaper magnates Lord Northcliffe and Lord Rothermere. He had come to France to learn the language. Dr. Perrier showed him the spring, and he decided to buy it. He sold his share of the family newspapers to raise the money. Harmsworth closed the spa, as spas were becoming unfashionable. He renamed the spring Source Perrier and started bottling the water in distinctive green bottles. The shape was that of the Indian clubs, which Harmsworth used for exercise.
Harmsworth marketed the product in Britain at a time when Frenchness was seen as 'chic' and aspirational to the middle classes. It was advertised as the Champagne of mineral water. (There is a genuine champagne by the name of Laurent Perrier but there is no connection.) Advertising in newspapers like the Daily Mail established the brand. Some 95% of sales were in Britain and the U.S.
Perrier's reputation for purity suffered a blow in 1990 when a laboratory in North Carolina in the United States found Benzene, a carcinogen, in several bottles. Perrier stated that it was an isolated incident of a worker having made a mistake in the filtering procedure and that the spring itself was unpolluted. The incident ultimately led to the worldwide withdrawal of the product, some 160 million bottles of Perrier.
From 1981 to 2005, the company sponsored an annual comedy award in the United Kingdom, the Perrier Comedy Award, also known as "The Perriers". In 2006 it was announced that Perrier would no longer sponsor the award, which was renamed if.comeddies, after its new sponsor, Intelligent Finance.
In 1992, Perrier was bought by rival Nestlé, one of the world's leading food and drink companies.
In 2004, a crisis erupted when the Nestlé group, owner of Perrier, announced a restructuring plan for Perrier. In 2005, Perrier was ordered to halt restructuring, because of a failure to consult adequately with staff. In 2013 Perrier celebrated 150 years of the brand.
As of January 2013, Perrier is available in 140 countries.
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