What Makes SmartWater Smart? Hint: It’s Not the Water!

Smartwater is a brand of bottled water produced by the Glaceau company — the same company that makes those colorful VitaminWaters.

I was surprised to learn Glaceau is a subsidiary of Coca-Cola. But what makes Smartwater so special?

Is it really any different from regular water?

Here’s what we know.

Vapor Distillation

Smartwater is “vapor distilled” water.

From what I can understand, pretty much all water is vapor distilled, meaning it originally came from clouds.

Where Does Smartwater Come From?

According to their website, most Smartwater is procured from “municipal water systems.” In other words, “tap water.”


Then the Smartwater goes through Glaceau’s proprietary filtration process, that removes just about everything from the water except two H’s and an O.

Electrolytes “For Taste”

Smartwater then adds back in the electrolytes:

  • calcium chloride
  • magnesium chloride
  • potassium bicarbonate

This is done “for taste.” I think the “for taste” part is important because the nutrition label still reads 0 mg of sodium, and the amounts of electrolytes added have essentially zero “gatorade-effect”.

In fact, the amount of electrolytes found in Smartwater is less than in other brands of “non-electrolyte-added” bottled waters.

Two independent taste-testers (my wife and I) could not taste any difference between Smartwater and Brita-filtered tap water.

Other Smartwater Smart-ness Factors

Glaceau has chosen to write “smartwater” in all lower case letters, which definitely seems trendy even if not necessarily grammatically correct.

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It seems like the water in the Smartwater bottle isn’t anything amazing. It’s not going to raise your IQ or replenish your body of lost nutrients any more than any other water would.

So what really makes Smartwater smart?

Its business of course!

Globally, bottled water is a $100 billion dollar industry.

Glaceau has found a “smart” way to buy tap water for a national average price of $0.002/gallon, clean it up, and sell it for $5/gallon or more.

A 250,000% markup makes for an insanely profitable business.

By calling it Smartwater, Glaceau is basically calling every other bottled water brand Stupidwater. If you’re buying bottled water (arguably not the smartest activity to begin with–for your finances or the planet), are you going to pick the regular bottled water or the Smartwater?

Great choice, Einstein.

(photo credit)

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