Photos: Maanus Kullamaa, Eneli Rohtla, Järvakandi klaasitehas
Two Estonian producers, the mineral water bottlers Haage and the Järvakandi glassworks, have joined forces to shake up the local bottled water market. As a result of their partnership, natural Estonian mineral water has been supplied to cafés and restaurants in locally produced, environmentally friendly glass bottles since the start of June.
“Estonian consumers have mostly only had the choice of buying mineral water imported from abroad when eating out, and transporting all those bottles leaves a substantial environmental footprint,” said Haage CEO Vello Oselin. “We’re convinced that high-quality local products have just as much of a place on drinks menus as their international rivals.”
Haage’s natural Estonian water, which boasts both beneficial minerals and biologically active components, is being marketed in the new glass bottles. The water is drawn from deep beneath the ground in the village of Haage near Tartu, which is home to one of the nine mineral water extraction sites in Estonia.
The bottles, featuring a special Haage design, are being produced at the Järvakandi glassworks. “We tested a range of options, but in the end we felt it was right for Estonian water to be bottled in Estonian bottles,” Oselin explained. “Glass is much more environmentally friendly, and producing it locally is both sustainable and easy to keep an eye on. We chose the Järvakandi glassworks because of their history and professionalism. At the start of the coronavirus crisis we realised that there were other benefits to working with a local producer as well, like the lack of borders and lengthy transport chains, leading to a smaller ecological footprint.”
Kaido Turro, the director of the Järvakandi glassworks, says that in the course of the company’s 140-year history it has produced bottles for such brands as Voss and Stolichnaya, and has done so for many years. “That’s why we’re so glad to be putting our skills and experience to work for a first-rate home-grown brand that places such value on quality and solutions that stand out,” he said. “In making our glass, one of the things we use is local Tabina sand, which produces really clear, bright glass that’s ideal for bottling Estonian mineral water and preserving its amazing flavour.”
The still and sparkling mineral waters being marketed in the new Järvakandi bottles come in both 330 ml and 750 ml sizes. The new bottles are marked out by their stylish design characteristic of Northern Europe, which was specially commissioned for Haage’s natural mineral water. At first the bottles are being supplied to the best cafés and restaurants around the country, but the company also plans to start selling them in well-known chain stores.
Haage natural mineral water is sourced from the small village of the same name in Tartu County. The village is renowned for its historical manor, reservoir and ancient sacrificial stone. Snaking through it is the 24-km-long Ilmatsalu River, the local section of which is known as Haage Brook. Here in this quiet corner of the country, nature has done the lion’s share of the hard work itself – Haage simply bottles it for people to enjoy. Haage Joogid OÜ is an Estonian-owned company which was founded in 2012 and forms part of the Silikaat Group.
The 141-year-old Järvakandi glassworks, otherwise known as O-I Estonia AS, are owned by one of the world’s biggest producers of glass packaging, the US-listed company Owens-Illinois (the ‘O’ and ‘I’ in the business name of the factory). The glassworks employ 160 people and operate round the clock, producing more than half a million glass bottles every day.