Thursday, December 21, 2006

Branded Ice?

Ice Rocks is a high-end spring-water ice cube line made by Miami-based Water Bank of America Inc. Experts expect the ice cubes to capture a niche in the luxury end of the American bottled water market--which Beverage Marketing Corp. estimated at $9.8 billion in 2005.

“I think they will become expected in first-class hotels and restaurants,” Dickerson says of Ice Rocks. “They’ll give them to you in the case, and you’ll pop them in your glass.” Water Bank was founded in 2002 by three Canadian brothers, Michel Pelletier, 41, Jean-Jean Pelletier, 37, and Robert Pelletier, 34, who’ve raised over $6 million to fund their efforts. Water Bank purchased the Ice Rocks company from a French firm in 2004.

Last year, the trio was planning a mid-November 2006 launch for Ice Rocks in luxury resorts and hotels in California, Chicago, Miami and New York. One test-marketing program in Europe distributed 300,000 four-packs of the cubes paired with bottles of Chivas Regal; that angle, marketed as Scotch Rocks, has a planned early ’07 rollout. With a 48-cube pack of Ice Rocks selling for about $4.99, the company estimates first-year sales could top $10 million. According to Jean-Jean, “We’re hearing from a lot of airlines and alcohol companies.”

Technology of Bottled Water