Poland Spring is a brand of bottled water manufactured by a subsidiary of Nestlé and sold in the United States in Maine. It was founded in 1845 by Hiram Ricker. Despite the name, the water does not come from the country of Poland but from derived multiple sources in the state of Maine, including Poland Spring and Garden Spring in Poland, Clear Spring in Hollis, Evergreen Spring in Fryeburg, Spruce Spring in Pierce Pond Township, and White Cedar Spring in Dallas Plantation, Bradbury Spring in Kingfield. Recently, the Poland Spring brand has adopted a bottle using 30% less plastic, as did the other Nestlé Waters North America brands.
Poland Spring is the top-selling spring water brand in America.
The brand has its origins in the late 18th century. Jabez Ricker had bought land in 1794 and two days later travelers knocked on the door asking for breakfast. Repeated requests by other travelers led him to open an inn called the Mansion House in 1797. In 1844, Jabez's grandson, Hiram Ricker, drank a lot of the spring water and became convinced that it had cured him of chronic dyspepsia. The inn had grown to a resort, and his discussions with guests led them to also praise the drinking water. In this period, it was quite fashionable to "take the waters" for almost all illnesses, causing an uptick in business. The Rickers soon began bottling the water. The inn grew into a significant resort in the late 19th and early 20th century, but the Ricker family lost control of the company during the 1930s. A resort is still operated on the site.
In 1891 Maine's Bureau of Industrial and Labor Statistics listed 81 existing mineral springs. Twenty-three were used for commercial bottling, with total sales of $400,000.[clarification needed] $200,000[clarification needed] of these sales were by Poland Spring.
Today Poland Spring sells the majority of its water in portable 8, 12, and 20 oz bottles; 500 ml, 700 ml, 1 L, and 1.5 L bottles, but also carries larger 5 gallon bottles usable in office or in home water dispensers. Smaller 3 L, 1 gallon and 2.5 gallon bottles are also available for sale in most supermarkets, and for home delivery in the Northeastern United States. Other less popular varieties of Poland Spring include sparkling, lemon, lime, and distilled. They are also the producers of the Aquapod line of products.
All Poland Spring products are sold in plastic bottles, for both safety and economical reasons. The three and five gallon Poland Spring bottles made from the number "7" polycarbonate plastic contain Bisphenol-A (BPA). Bottles of PETE, which do not contain BPA (number "1" on bottom), started to appear in 2013; in some areas one may have only these bottles. They can be recognized by the different handle design (separate piece of plastic rather than a continuous molded element).
In the summer of 2005, Poland Spring changed the color of its 1 gallon bottle cap from dark green to clear. The reason for the color change was to remove the dye from the cap, which allows it to enter the recycling stream. Poland Spring later changed to a lighter bottle called the Eco-Shape which uses 30 percent less plastic. The new style made its début in November 2007.
Several towns in Maine have objected to the business practices of Poland Spring and its parent company Nestlé. In some towns, such as Fryeburg, Maine, Poland Spring actually buys the water (110 million gallons of water from Fryeburg a year) from another company, the Fryeburg Water Co., and ships it to the Poland Spring bottling plant in Poland Spring. However, Fryeburg Water Co. also sells water to the town of Fryeburg.
The town of Fryeburg began to question the amount of water the company was selling to Poland Spring. In 2004, the town's water stopped temporarily because of a pump failure, but Poland Spring's operations were able to continue. The group H2O for ME wants to create a tax on water drawn for commercial purposes. However, Poland Spring said the tax would force the company into bankruptcy. State congressman Jim Wilfong proposed a 20 cent per gallon tax be allowed to be voted on in a referendum, but the measure was defeated. He also believes that laws should be rearranged to place limits on the amount of groundwater landowners can pump out of their land.
The town of Sterling, Massachusetts, is attempting to prevent Poland Spring (Nestlé) from pumping spring water from conservation restricted town land. Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) has responded to an RFP issued by the Town of Clinton to purchase the Town of Clinton's Wekepeke aquifer water rights located in Sterling.
In June 2003, Poland Spring was sued for false advertising in a class action lawsuit charging that their water that supposedly comes from springs, is in fact heavily treated common ground water. The suit also states, hydro-geologists hired by Nestlé found that another current source for Poland Spring water near the original site stands over a former trash and refuse dump, and below an illegal disposal site where human sewage was sprayed as fertilizer for many years. The suit was settled in September 2003, with the company not admitting to the allegations, but agreeing to pay $10 million in charity donations and discounts over the next 5 years. Nestlé continues to sell the same Maine water under the Poland Spring name.
- Source of trouble, The Economist, October 26, 2006 (English)
- "Poland Spring(R) Lightens Up With New Eco-Shape(TM) Bottle". BevNet. 2007-11-02. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
- Maine League of Historical Societies and Museums (1970). Doris A. Isaacson, ed. Maine: A Guide "Down East". Rockland, Me: Courier-Gazette, Inc. p. 398.
- "Safety and Storage page from Poland Spring website". Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- Coultas, Carol. "Poland Spring eyeing debate". Archived from the original on 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2007-07-23.
- Turkel, Tux. "Water deal too sweet?". Retrieved 2007-07-23.
- "Group plans water-extraction tax, asks state support". Retrieved 2007-07-23.
- "Water fight already rages over Wekepeke". Retrieved 2008-03-19.
- "Nestlé Sued for Falsely Advertising Poland Spring Water". Water & Wastes Digest. 2003-06-19. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
- Anthony Brooks (2003-09-04). "Poland Spring Settles Class-Action Lawsuit". Morning Edition (National Public Radio). Retrieved 2008-07-10.