Local company credits its product’s purity
Santa Barbara area-based Ophora Water Technologies won the Gold award Saturday for the best-tasting purified bottled water at the 32nd annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting.
The contest has been called the “Oscars of water,” and Ken Guoin, president and co-founder of Ophora Water Technologies, explained what makes his water great.
“We are all about purity,” Mr. Guoin told the News-Press Sunday after the victory was announced. “What has put us on the map is our water is nano-purified. We have four patents on a process that restores water the way it used to be, nano-pure and highly oxygenated.”
Mr. Guoin has been in the water industry for 35 years.
The water tasting took place at the Country Inn in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.
The event has been described as “the world’s most prestigious water tasting” by BuzzFeed and the Week.
The event includes tasting of purified waters, non-carbonated bottled waters and sparkling waters.
Handcrafted glass water drops, created by West Virginia’s Appalachian Glass, were presented as awards.
Known as the “Oscars of water,” the event has featured more than 720 distinct waters during the past 32 years. A total of 59 countries have been represented, including the U.S., Greece, New Zealand, Tajikistan, Korea, Indonesia and St. Kitts and Nevis.
Winners are determined by a distinguished panel of media judges.
Judges include representatives from the Insider’s Guide to Spas, Wonderland Entertainment and the West Virginia Department of Tourism, as well as journalists and freelance writers whose work appears in the Washington Post, Smithsonian and Woman’s World Magazines, among others, as well as podcasts and blogs.
“The impact of winning this event is extraordinary for a bottler. Many have experienced exponential growth, others closed major deals, and almost all winners redesign their labels to display their winning medal,” said Jill Klein Rone, event producer.
News-Press Co-Publisher Arthur von Wiesenberger served as the watermaster for the event.
Mr. von Wiesenberger trained the media judges and directed the challenge of evaluating the product.
This unique event has been dubbed the “granddaddy of water tastings,” by Mr. von Wiesenberger and is produced by Travel Berkeley Springs.
In 2021, the event’s “People’s Choice package design” contest began, allowing the public to vote online for the packaging.
“How the product looks and grabs attention has become ever more important as the bottled water industry continues to grow. There are now more than 600 brands of bottled water,” said Ms. Klein Rone.
Mr. Guoin, whose company took home the gold, discussed Ophora Water Technologies further on Sunday during the News-Press interview.
“We are a local company,” he said. “Christen Brown and I founded the company in 2010, and now we have a worldwide reach. We are building a high-speed, high volume water making plant in Ventura. Our corporate headquarters is in Carpinteria, where we have a 7,500 square-foot office”
“It is nano purity, pH balance and hyper-oxygenatetion that makes our water taste the best,” he said. “We are winning the award year after year not only because of taste and purity, but because it is light on the tongue. You are drinking water on a cellular level. The water penetrates your cells.
“There is no one else doing what we do,” he continued. “Our oxygen is bound to the water. We are not reinventing the wheel. We are bringing back water the way it is supposed to be. Our water is functional water, meaning it is health enhancing. Doctor’s offices are prescribing it to patients.
“We only bottle in glass,” Mr. Guoin said. “We are very against plastic pollution. We bottle in 750 milliliters, ½ gallon and gallons. I’m an inventor. I have been in the water industry my entire life. My MO is about mimicking nature.”
Ophora Water can be purchased at high-end retail specialty stores such as Lazy Acres and Bristol Farms. It can also be purchased through the subscription service at ophorawater.com
“We are on a mission, to get people away from plastic and drinking healthy water,” Mr. Guoin said. “A lot of issues are caused by not drinking enough water and not drinking the right kind of water.”