For some, water is water and drinking bottled wate

r is for dandies and posers. But water isn’t always water because sometimes water can be dirty, polluted and drinking it can send you to the porcelain throne for way too long and too often. At home, my wife S and I have been drinking tap waters for years. We did so quite proudly because S’s father works for our country’s national water agency and likes to joke that he “tests every drop of water in the country.” Recently however, he’s advised us that while the country’s tap water is fine for drinking, because the building we live in uses large water tanks, there’s no guarantee that by the time the water comes out of our taps it’s still as pure as it should be.

Bottled water isn’t all the same either. The more you drink of it, the more you realize that different brands of bottled water actually taste different — which considering water isn’t supposed to have any taste is kind of an interesting revelation. Of course, all tastes are subjective. And what I think might be right you might think is off the mark. Personally, I can’t stand Evian because I think it has a strange tinny taste. Vittel is kind of blah and while I think Fiji is nice and refreshing, I hate the packaging. To me, it looks cheesy and cheap. I enjoy San Pelligrino but it can sometimes be almost too carbonated; which means I can only drink so much of it at any one time.

antipodes2.jpg Recently, S and I discovered Antipodes water. I’ll admit, the first thing that grabbed my interest was the packaging, which I think is fantastic. Antipodes is served in gorgeous, old-fashioned yet still contemporary, glass bottles. The labels are clear, with white text for still water and black for the sparkling. They’re simple, functional and brilliant. Of course, no amount of good packaging would make a difference if the water wasn’t worth drinking. The water, I’m happy to say, is excellent. Bottled at source, Antipodes’ water is drawn from deep strata of water-bearing rock — which is an aquifer — in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty. The volcanic nature of this aquifer means that the water is naturally filtered and low in dissolved solids. Which, in layman’s terms, means it has a really clean and soft taste. It’s also one of the purest bottled waters on the market.

Antipodes’ still water tastes pure as well. It’s something I can only describe (again and again — sorry, I need to buy a thesaurus) as “clean”. Served chilled, it’s fantastically refreshing. It doesn’t have the odd aftertaste that some other bottled waters have. The sparkling, which was rated as the world’s best sparkling water by The Berkeley Springs Winter Festival of Waters, is equally refreshing. It has a nice fine bead and is very easy to drink. Antipodes also has an interesting sales strategy. Because this young New Zealand brand is trying to position itself as a premium water — and in order to differentiate itself from competitors — you won’t be seeing its bottles on supermarket shelves anytime soon. Distribution is only at specially selected F&B outlets (i.e. cool restaurants and cafes) or via home (or office) delivery in selected territories. (Here in Singapore, Antipodes is distributed by and available to drink at The Cellar Door; they have not started the home delivery service as yet, but I hope they will soon.) I hope more and more restaurateurs consider serving Antipodes. Because it is so clean and soft, it works very well with food. Plus it looks just so damn sexy when it’s served or when it’s displayed on the table. Cheers!

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his three kids!


10 June 2007


I love Antipodes too and buy it for my home.

I have a small cafe/bar and I tried to buy Antipodes to replace San Pelligrino which we serve. Unfortunately, the pricing of Antipodes is extraordinarily high compared to other major brands like Evian or San Pelligrino so it makes completely no commercial sense. Pity as I love Antipodes and hope to see it in more F&B outlets…

Vic: At The Cellar Door, a 1 litre bottle is selling for S$9. That’s a lot less than what most restaurants charge for Fiji, so while a tad pricey, by comparison, it’s a good price for quality.

M: Hopefully, as the company grows, they’ll make it more affordable for operators like yourself.

I am just wondering — what happens to the empty bottles? There isn’t a very strong culture of recycling in Singapore, and I shudder at the thought of tens of thousands of glass bottles going into the landfills because of an increased demand for bottled water.

I agree with SPQ – plus what about the carbon footprint of freighting all that glass and water from New Zealand? I’m all for more pure and better tasting drinking water, but surely there must be better solutions at home ( water filters, purifiers, boiling water etc) than buying in at such a high cost to ourselves and the environment?

SPQ and slinky: I agree that Singapore isn’t the best recycling nation and it should do more to educate its people to separate trash and provide us with distinct recycling bins for different kinds of waste. But, I don’t think a new bottled water brand will create a dramatic increase in the demand of bottled water. I think it provides an alternative choice for pre-existing bottled water consumers looking for a quality product. Also, I have to ask, do you drink wine or beer? Are you going to stop because of recycling concerns? Slinky, do you drink only local beer or eat only local produce? Your point on recycling and carbon footprints is valid. But it would be irrational to point fingers at one product and proclaim it the great environmental evil.

The packaging is lovely, and I think the people braying about the environmental costs are pointing fingers in the wrong direction — at the consumer of the product, not at the producers who might not seek to maximize environmental-friendly shipping processes. I care about the environment as much as anyone, but it doesn’t make sense to sneer at someone who buys these beautiful bottles when they see them in a store. It’s extravagant — but what are these little luxuries if not for sharing on such a blog?

we serve antipodes at the restaurant i work in (Fee&Me in launceston tasmania) and customers are extremely satisfied with it. Serve it chilled into a tall glass with a slice of lemon, divine.
nice to see some publicity for it back home, nice one ch.
keep up the great work

I don’t think anyone is ‘braying’ ‘sneering’ or ‘pointing fingers’ to ask what are the environmental costs of consuming it something and are there more environmentally friendly alternatives. Sometimes there aren’t currently better alternatives and if you like wine, other than buying organic where you can and recycling the bottle, you have little choice – but water? And yes, I do try to eat and shop for mostly local produce – I recently switched from an organic box from Australia to buying from a local organic farm – has the added advantage of boosting local business!!

Hi Slinky

I’m assuming that you’re in Singapore. Would you mind letting me know where the local organic farm is, please? I’d love to try the produce. Thanks.

i have informed cellar door that as long as they can match the prices of san pellegrino, i would be more than happy to switch the brand we sell in our cafe – and that’s saying a lot i think, considering that the brand recognition is so much less for a product like antipodes so our staff would have to work harder to sell it.

anyway, have also considered the carbon footprint of selling imported sparkling water and would love to do something about it. pity we do not have a good natural source of mineral water (grin, and new water doesn’t count!). i guess as with all things, balance is key.

Hear, hear Slinky. What’s wrong with drinking boiled tap water? Here in the UK foodie scene drinking bottled water from far flung corners (Fiji, anyone?) is increasingly being seen as gauche and just plain wrong. Restaurant reviewrs like Giles Coren for The Times is even allocating points in it’s reviews for a restaurant’s water policy (eg 10 for tap or Belu and 0 for Fiji).

It makes me sad to think of that bottle water being shipped/flown, racking up carbon miles and also it’s bottle ending up in a landfill.

Or why not buy a Brita filter?

Antipodes from what I am told is carbon negative. The owner is quite an interesting guy and they have documents supporting that (forget who from though).

Hi S,
There are a couple of organic farms in singapore that do delivery – the one I’m using is called Green Circle Farm and you can order on line at – free delivery for orders above $25. They have a lot of local produce and also offer organic produce from overseas if they don’t/can’t grow it locally – but they are clear on their website as to where things are sourced from .You can also visit the farm on sundays apparently.

I must try this. Thanks for reviewing it. The carbon footprint of NZ products, particularly wine, exported to other countries is getting a lot of publicty at the moment. The wine is shipped thereby the enviromental damage is less than if it had transported by air.

i just read about carbon credits and water just a few days ago in a magazine.

i am guilty. i think i should start carry PUB water in bottles more often now…

I read this interesting article in Time about a water sommelier. Decided to try out bottle water with fine dining at Providence (in Los Angeles) this past weekend. Had a Valvert or Volvic (can’t recall). It was definitely better tasting than tap, but then again the restaurant also offered filtered tap which wasn’t half bad at the price (meaning: free)

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