Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum Registrar Michael Fox invited us down to take pictures of their collection of Manitou’s spring water bottles for the past century and narrated this brief, but highly informative history of water bottling in the region. Don’t miss all the great label designs, which you can see more closely by watching the slide show in full screen (click the arrows in the lower-right-hand corner).


3 Responses to A Brief History of Spring Water Bottling in Manitou

  1. Dave Hughes says:

    Interesting – though truncated at the end in describing what happened and what did NOT happen between 1984 when a Manitou native who had made some money in the wine business in California started up a bottling operation with his own money plus a large (as I recall $400.000 EDA grant.)

    Things seemed to be going on as a startup, while there was across the country competition by other ‘mineral springs’ companies.

    Then the owner of Manitou Springs Bottling made a stupid mistake. I, as a key person in the business revitalization of Old Colorado City, and as a member of the Manitou Springs Development Company was approached by a representaitve of the Perrier USA – the most successful and well known French bottled water company in the world. He wanted to know what I knew about the Manitou Company, its owner, and the quality of the water. Perrier had reached the US Market and was aquiring water companies which came from a variety of springs, in the US. (by 1988 they were selling 300 million bottles in the US)

    This was a GREAT opportunity for the then struggling Manitou company, and its egotistical know-it-all owner.

    I promoted the water, the historical springs, and the owner. But when they met, Manitou was NOT INTERESTED. The owner wanted to do it all, his way. Perrier went away.

    The rest is history. The Manitou Company failed, the plant was closed in the 90s, the owner went bankrupt, and all that is left are some old labeled bottles. And Manitou Springs missed the opportunity to capitalize on their springs ECONOMICALLY as part of a world-class company. All because of one headstrong native.

  2. Noel Black says:

    Thanks for the comment, Dave. Do you know who currently owns the bottling plant and/or the rights to the water? Is it the city of Manitou Springs?

  3. Mary H says:

    You sound pretty egotistical yourself there Dave. I guess not everyone would agree that it’s a good thing to sell out your local business to a multinational corporation. Even if it does mean shutting down when it doesn’t work out.


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