Like sippin’ on air

Water tasting highlights our quality and bourbon industry connections

Fifteen bourbon enthusiasts recently met at Louisville Water Tower Park and learned why Louisville Water is “bourbon’s best friend.” This Bourbon Women Association group, which included members from Nashville, Austin, Chicago, and Indianapolis, toured the WaterWorks Museum and sampled a premium product: water.

A water tasting was definitely a highlight of the tour. The guests sampled four waters blindly and learned how Louisville Water scientists use a taste test as one of their 200 daily lab experiments.

The water samples included a spring water, commercial bottled water, and Louisville Pure Tap™ served both warm and chilled. The guests observed, sniffed, and tasted the samples and then described what they noticed.

Nearly every guest chose chilled Pure Tap as the water with the “best flavor” — which is really no flavor. Their descriptions of Pure Tap included “fluffy,” “no aftertaste,” “lighter on the palate,” and like “sippin’ on air.” After the tasting, one guest commented she was “drunk on water.”

Why offer a water tasting?

Because for most consumers, taste is the first indicator of whether or not water is “good,” and good taste can strengthen public trust in a utility.

Louisville Water has a laser focus on the taste of our water that started in the 1930s with Chester Tilford as our chief taster. In fact, we’re so proud of the way our water tastes that we trademarked it as Pure Tap in 1997. So far, we’re the only water utility to do so.

Our scientists today continue this focus on taste, attention to detail, and pride in the product, and these are all things we have in common with the bourbon industry. Twenty distilleries use our water in their recipe, and our histories, our current operations, and even how we talk about our products align.

In 1861, Louisville water actually served bourbon during tours of our original water works. Today, our bourbon and water tastings highlight several benefits for businesses that are considering locating in Louisville — benefits that include not only quality but also value and an abundant supply.

Our water also plays a role in socially responsible enjoyment of spirits, and it adds to the overall experience — whether it’s bourbon on the rocks or just a few drops of water added to a drink to see how it changes the dynamic and brings new flavors to the fore.