FIJI Water proves that it's hip to be square. The premium water, which comes from an artesian aquifer at the edge of a rainforest, is available in square bottles at retail food merchants and in luxury hotels, spas, and restaurants in 40 countries. Sourced and bottled on Viti Levu, the largest of the Republic of Fiji's islands, the water has garnered the attention of celebrity chefs and also made its way to the set of popular television programs and movies, including ABC's Desperate Housewives. The company, which sells genuine silver sleeves for the water bottles on its website, also offers home delivery of its water throughout the continental US. FIJI Water is part of Roll International's holdings.
Operating on the island of Fiji for years, Roll International recently has been faced with hurdles at the source of its namesake water that ultimately spurred the company to diversify FIJI Water's portfolio. Unhappy with a major government tax increase on Fiji, Roll International ceased operations in the South Pacific nation for a short time in 2010 and later reopened the FIJI Water plant, agreeing to comply with a tax increase imposed by Fiji's military-led government. The nation's prime minister asserted that FIJI Water has paid "minimal corporate taxes since it was set up." As a result of the tax increases, FIJI Water remain skeptical about continuing with construction contracts in Fiji. To this end, FIJI Water expanded its premium water business into premium wine. Through a purchase Roll International made in 2010, FIJI Water also maintains the operations of Justin Vineyards & Winery, located in Paso Robles, California, and oversees its founders and other executives. The water firm is leveraging Justin's winemaking expertise while sharing its global sales force.
Prior to the winery purchase, FIJI Water has concentrated on expanding its business and extending its reach abroad. The company bought New Zealand's SpringFresh Limited in 2008 as part of an expansion strategy to better serve customers in the South Pacific. SpringFresh's water, like FIJI's, is sourced from an artesian aquifer. FIJI Water's initial main distribution areas were the US, Canada, the UK, Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, and Australia. The water bottler has since expanded its distribution business into Japan, South Africa, Brazil, Taiwan, and China.
Roll International, known for its POM elixir, acquired FIJI Water in 2004. The same year it won the US Secretary of State's Award for Corporate Excellence for bringing sustainable jobs to Fiji. Unfortunately, due to the global economic downturn, the company in 2009 was forced to shed jobs on the island as a cost-cutting measure.
FIJI Water was founded in 1996 by David Gilmour, who liked to say the company's water is the purest on earth because it's sourced far from man-made pollutants. – less