Mineral water makes up around 50% of all drinks sold in the Czech Republic, mostly in plastic bottles. As part of its sustainability plan, Czech drinks giant Kofola plans to change that by launching mineral water in barrels to be sold on draught in pubs, according to owner Jannis Samaris. Photo credit: Kofola archive.

Czech Rep., Jun 10 (BD) – Czech drinks giant Kofola is to launch its mineral water brand Rajec in barrels. Owner Jannis Samaris told Seznam News that the company is ready to start a trial in its own UGO Salaterias, which can then be rolled out to other restaurants if successful.

Mineral water is hugely popular in the Czech Republic, representing half of the total drinks market. 95% of Czech households reported buying mineral water last year. However, most of this is sold in plastic bottles, presenting an awkward problem for drinks companies as pressure grows to reduce reliance on single-use plastics. The European Union has been working to popularize tap water as an alternative, and in recent years plans have been discussed to require pubs and restaurants to provide water to customers for free.

According to Samaris, however, there is still a role for mineral water, as customers can be sure that the water they are buying is not chlorinated and comes from a precise source, in this case the Rajecká valley. As he told Seznam News, “This seemingly simple idea has many pitfalls, but we believe that we are on the right track.”

The innovation comes as part of Kofola’s sustainability plan. “Our vision is zero waste and carbon neutral by 2030,” said Samaris, who says there is already demand for such products, and expects it to catch on. The final price is not yet fixed, but is expected to be roughly equivalent to the same amount of water in bottles.

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