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Indiana's own designer water.

Indiana's Own Designer Water

People used to believe the water that bubbled up from Cameron Springs was a cure-all, conquering woes from kidney failure to toothaches. Though most don't subscribe to such ideas anymore, the spring water from Warren County still may turn out to be good for the health of a Hoosier beverage distributor.

National Wine & Spirits Corp. of Indianapolis recently launched the Cameron Springs Co. to bottle and sell the Indiana spring water. The company hopes to cash in on the growing popularity of bottled water, perhaps even winning over drinkers of such international brands as Evian.

"We were in the process of diversification and came across the bottled-water industry as one that fascinated us," says Richard M. Quinn, president of Cameron Springs Co. It's an attractive pie from which to seek a slice. Americans consumed some 2.5 billion gallons of bottled water last year, up about a half billion from the year before, according to the Beverage Marketing Corp. Beverage Industry magazine foresees continued growth through the rest of the decade for a reasons including an aging population, rising disposable income and changing demographic, environmental and sociological trends. In Indiana, experts predict, sales of bottled water will grow 41 percent by 1994.

Health - or the quest for better health - was what brought fame to Cameron Springs more than a century ago. Back in the mid-1880s, a rheumatism-suffering farmer named Samuel Story undertook an ambitious drainage project at the springs near the western Indiana town of Kramer. He spent weeks digging in the sun, quenching his thirst with spring water and wading through hip-deep mud that the springs created. By the end of it all, his rheumatism had disappeared, and he gave credit to the spring water. The astonishing news quickly spread.

William Cameron bought the property, built an small hotel and sold Magno-Mud and Lithia Water. Upon seeing Cameron's success, entrepreneur Henry Kramer acquired the springs and built an exotic health resort and spa that became known as the Mudlavia Hotel. It was appointed elaborately with mosaic floors, imported furniture, German-silver curtain rods and other luxuries. Celebrities and commoners alike would travel by train to the hotel for a regimen of health food, exercise, massage, mud-pack treatments and plenty of spring water.

As rumors of miracle cures spread, the clientele grew. P.T. Barnum paid a visit, as did James Whitcomb Riley. Songwriter Paul Dresser, legend has it, wrote "On the Banks of the Wabash" on the Mudlavia's piano, and even Al Capone supposedly stopped at the resort.

The boom, however, came to a sudden end in 1920, when the Mudlavia burned to the ground. The grand hotel was never rebuilt, and the legend of the spring water soon followed the hotel into oblivion.

Along came National Wine & Spirits. Some six decades after the Mudlavia's demise, the beverage distributor began looking for a source of water suitable for bottling. It learned about Cameron Springs, and was pleased to find that the spring water's purity fit the bill. And the spring's past allows marketers to include the seemingly contradictory phrases "new" and "since 1885" in the same advertisements.

Cameron Springs water products are available across Indiana, and will appear in other markets as early as next year. They can be purchased in grocery and convenience stores and in restaurants, and the large containers can be delivered to offices and homes.

PHOTO : Cameron Springs water - "new, since 1885."
COPYRIGHT 1991 Curtis Magazine Group, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Indiana spring water to be bottled and sold by Cameron Springs Co.
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Sep 1, 1991
Previous Article:Old Hickory Furniture Co.
Next Article:Greetings from Bloomington.

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