Craft beers, wines and spirits from more than 20 local brewers, vintners and distillers were featured at the eighth annual Louisville Brewfest at Slugger Field, but in one of the most frequented booths, the only beverage that came out of the taps was water.
Of course, it wasn’t just any water. It was Louisville Water Company’s pure tap®. To emphasize the quality of its product, the company branded the water in 1996, which made it the first and probably only branded public water supply anywhere. All Louisville Water customers get pure tap straight from their faucets.
So why was it so popular at Brewfest?
“It helps me stay hydrated,” said attendee Megan Spidak, “and drinking water is a good way to pace yourself throughout the night.”
“And it tastes great,” added her friend Aisha Thomas. “I’ve had tap water in a lot of other cities. Louisville’s is the best.”
Taste tests back up Thomas’ opinion. Over the years, the city’s water has won both local and national tests, including a score even higher than the scores that several brands of bottled water received in a blind taste test sponsored by The Courier-Journal.
Christy Ray, Louisville Water public relations specialist, said many people make a point to thank her for providing pure tap® for free — as well as 20-ounce, BPA-free, reusable water bottles for only $2 — at the Brewfest, which the company has done for the last four years.
“A lot people come up and tell me, ‘We’re really glad you’re here,’” Ray said.
She noted that beer connoisseurs make regular stops at the the water station as they circle and sample the brewer booths set up around Slugger Field’s concourse. Designated drivers are grateful to have a free alternative to soft drinks.
Louisville Water’s participation in Brewfest grew out of the company’s partnership with the Louisville Independent Business Alliance. “They asked us to participate,” Ray said, “and they help promote our ‘purely local’ business partners.”
The “purely local” initiative provides branded signage and containers — such as bottles, reusable pitchers and compostable cups — that make it easy for local businesses to serve Louisville pure tap®. (Visit LouisvillePureTap.com for a list of participating businesses.)
The “purely local” initiative is part of the overall Louisville pure tap® campaign, which focuses on the quality, value and health benefits of tap water as it sets up water stations at not just Brewfest but many festivals, concerts and other events throughout the community.
For both indoor and outdoor events with crowds up to 500, a Fill & Chill option provides compostable cups and five-gallon self-serve coolers. For large crowds such as those at Brewfest, Louisville Water engineers developed “pure tap to GO” cooler units with special food-grade hosing that connects to a nearby water supply line, so there are no tanks to fill or refill. Coils and ice inside the units keep the water cold and refreshing even in the hottest weather.
Ray pointed out another reason that this type of water station is always popular at Brewfest: As the event goes on, some brewers — especially those offering limited edition beers — start running out of their beverages, “but we always have water,” Ray said. “At the end of the night, pure tap is still flowing.”