Second natural mineral water producer launches operations in Estonia
Today will see true competition introduced to the natural mineral water segment of the Estonian drinks market for the first time: Setumaa-based Verska Mineraalvee OÜ has been fully certified as a producer of natural mineral water and, working with A. Le Coq, will commence production and sales of the beverage. The company is owned by Toomas Sein (80%) and A. Le Coq (20%). It has invested almost €600,000 in new production and processing facilities.
Company director Toomas Sein says that natural mineral water makes up 20% of the Estonian water market, of which Verska Mineraalvee OÜ plans to corner a quarter. "We've spent €600,000 updating our bores and our factory, so we'll be giving Värska Originaal a real run for its money!" he said, adding that the greatest competition from international brands would come from the Georgian mineral water Borjom. The Verska factory will produce 1-litre bottles of Värska Mineral Water and 1.9-litre bottle of Värska. The mineralisation level of the new water will be 2000 mg per litre (with 1500 mg/l or more considered a high level of mineralisation). The maximum output of the production line will be 6000 litres per hour.
A. Le Coq director Tarmo Noop says his company decided to become a part-owner of Verska Mineraalvee OÜ because of its desire to enter the natural mineral water segment, in which to date there has been no competition between local producers. "With our 20% stake we've helped bring production up to the modern EU standards required to become a recognised producer of natural mineral water," he explained. A. Le Coq will also be sharing its expertise in the marketing and sales of the water, and has likewise contributed its know-how in developing its packaging. Noop says that launching production at this new level is an important step for the local economy, since it will strengthen the associations people have between Värska as a region and good health, and it will also stimulate business in the area. Verska Mineraalvee OÜ employs around 20 people. Its investments were supported by the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board under measure 3.1 with a grant of €281,680.
The new mineral water is being sourced from Värska bore no. 5, from the Ordovician-Cambrian layer almost 500 metres below ground. The bore has been in use since 1983. The company was awarded its title of natural mineral water producer meeting all European Union norms on 20 December 2011. In order to obtain this certification, its bore equipment was updated and improved, its independent control system modernised and the content of its mineral water repeatedly analysed (with the key point being that it should not change). Investments were also made in new production equipment and facilities.