Simply Artesian: Alabama Mineral Springs opens doors to bottling facility

Published 10:29 am Thursday, June 6, 2024

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

After more than five years of preparation and planning, Alabama Mineral Springs, LLC opened its doors to its water bottling facility in the Mineral Springs community to send its “Simply Artesian” water across Alabama.

A ribbon cutting was held on June 5 to officially open the new $6 million bottling facility in the Mineral Springs community of Chilton County near Jemison. Alabama Mineral Springs staff, founders and investors, as well as Chilton County and State of Alabama dignitaries joined the crowd to see the new facility and take a tour of it. State dignitaries in attendance included Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Brenda Tuck and Ellen McNair with the Alabama Department of Commerce, Alabama Sen. April Weaver and Alabama Rep. Van Smith.

“Small business is the standard for economic development efforts, and we value our small businesses because (Alabama Mineral Springs, LLC) have hired five folks and expect more shortly,” Ivey said. “It is a growing thing here, and I am proud to be here (for it).”

Over 165 years ago in the late 1800s, a naturally occurring, free-slowing spring was discovered in Chilton County at the edge of the Appalachian foothills. The water was quickly found to have minerals in it including manganese and iron, and it also contains six of the seven known electrolytes — bicarbonate, calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus and sodium. The water from the spring also averages 172 ppm of total dissolved solids in each 16.9-ounce bottle. When minerals are taken in by individuals from a natural source like food or drinks, they are digested more easily.

This led to the spring to becoming a focal point for the local community, housing a ranch and the old Mineral Springs Health Resort Hotel in the 1900s. The spring sat untouched for 25 years before Alabama Mineral Springs, LLC was founded in 2019 to capitalize on the free-flowing, natural spring that produces the mineral-rich water by bottling it and sending it across Alabama for consumption.

“It is very satisfying (to have everyone here today),” Diana Windsor, Sales and Marketing Manager of Alabama Mineral Springs, LLC, said. “We have worked hard … We worked a lot of long days and weeks, but we got past them, and here we are.”

The new bottling facility is located in the Mineral Springs community, but has a Jemison address off of County Road 187 right near the spring. The spring, which is between 130 to 300 feet deep, produces 16 gallons of water per minute through the two openings on the property. Around 22,000 gallons of water a day is produce by the natural spring.

Alabama Mineral Springs had the water tested and monitored for 12 months by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to get a source water approval to make sure the water is actually full of the minerals as advertised. It received the approval, and the water passed all tests and was confirmed to have those natural minerals and electrolytes in it. Investors joined the company to bring together funds for the bottling facility, and construction began in March 2023 after setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic extended the construction process significantly.

“I think this is a great example for other rural counties and communities to really look at how the leadership of this county and the state worked together to make this a reality,” Ellen McNair, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said. “The company has stepped up in a major way, but they know looking behind them they have the support of the community, the county and the state. Hopefully, that gives them the support and the resources they need to succeed. What a great product, it is very unique and we are really excited for it to hit the stores.”

The bottling facility will have the ability to bottle 5,000 servings an hour of the water. Alabama Mineral Springs can produce 30,500 cases of water per week, and plans to send out five truck loads per day once it goes on sale to the public in early July.

Piggly Wiggly will be the first retailer that will sell the water, but the company is currently looking for distributors to get the water out to other retailers across the state. Sprouts and other convenience stores in Alabama are also on the list of retailers that will sell the water in July, and sales will stretch into Mississippi and the Florida panhandle as well.

“I have given this my all because every morning I wake up with a purpose,” Windsor said. “Many, many people do not have a purpose, but I wake up every day with a purpose. It has been a real blessing.”

Alabama Mineral Springs, LLC was presented with a Seal of Alabama plaque for the facility during the ribbon cutting ceremony by Gov. Ivey.