Water is something on everyone’s minds in Yucatán: although we have no lakes and rivers, our peninsula is famous for its beautiful cenotes. And, because of our tropical climate, having a drink of water is something we do a dozen times a day.
When you are faced with several brands of water to choose from in the corner store, it may help you to make a decision if you know the history of the brand with the largest market share (75% to 80%): Agua Cristal. Founded 60 years ago, Agua Cristal is one of the beverages bottled by Bepensa, a huge company which is also in the car and truck business as well as construction machinery, among others.
Bepensa is the authorized bottler of the Coca-Cola Company, and their plants bottle not only Agua Cristal, but also all the Coca-Cola soft drinks and non-carbonated sport and fruit drinks as well. This relationship with Coca-Cola, known worldwide for its impeccable quality standards, means that you can be assured of the very best drinking water around.
Water treatment: The water used for Agua Cristal is not city water; it comes from wells 80 to 100 meters deep, assuring an uncontaminated source. First it is treated to a micro-filtration of inverse osmosis; then it passes through various sand and carbon filters; and finally ozone is added. Cleanliness of the 20-gallon bottles is also carefully monitored, as they are the only size bottle which is reused. They go through a series of inspections, washings, rinses, and sterilizations before they are refilled.
Some numbers: There are more than 10,000 employees in the states of Yucatán, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Veracruz, Tabasco, Chiapas, and Oaxaca. They have 17 bottling plants, 19 distribution centers, and 750 delivery routes in that territory. They sell 200,000 “garrafones” (20-liter bottles) per day. Agua Cristal comes in six personal sizes as well: 350 ml, 600 ml, 1 liter, 1.5 liters, 1 gallon, and 5 liters.
Bepensa’s work culture is people-oriented and emphasizes the following values: respect, loyalty, integrity, leadership, innovation, and excellence. They take very good care of their employees, and whenever a new plant opens there are parades and celebrations.
Recycling programs are being planned for launch in August. A thinner bottle and smaller cap will use less plastic, which means less contamination both during the production process and after use. A “crush” campaign will be launched: crush the bottle and separate it for delivery to a recycling center (it won’t be recycled as water bottles but as other products).
Thirsty? Grab a bottle of Agua Cristal!
By Juanita Stein