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Queens Week: Trendy H2O A Queens Success Story

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Vitamin water is the latest trend in H2O, but did you know it was made in Queens? NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following Queens Week report.

You might know their cool bottles and funky labels, but did you know that the flavors for Glaceau's Vitamin Water are developed in Whitestone.

Before the water hits your tongue it has to go through a long process of testing and tasting.

"We're looking always for new benefits, new flavor, something that the consumers are really going to latch onto," says Glaceau COO Carol Dollard.

Many have been latching on to the heath drink for nearly a decade. Glaceau also makes Fruit and Smart Water, and the company says 5 million people buy the products everyday.

"I think the biggest key is we created a product that consumers really wanted and there was a demand for it," said Glaceau President Mike Repole. "Vitamin Water, along with Smart Water and Fruit Water, has really connected with consumers in a big way."

Vitamin Water starts with Glaceau's Smart Water.

"We then add our natural colors, natural flavors, pure crystal and fructose, and then finally we add our vitamins: vitamin C, B vitamins and any other specific nutrients that are specific to certain functions," says Dollard.

J. Darius Bikoff says he came up with the idea for the water because he was looking for a healthy substitute for regular water. He started the company by himself, but over the years it has grown to about 750 employees.

"It was really hard," says Bikoff. "I invested everything that I had into starting the company and I took my product store by on the streets of Manhattan with a cooler bag on my shoulder."

Back then it was hard to get shelf space for the water, but Bikoff says the product's popularity has changed that.

"It's a much more level playing field, and we're able to compete with Coke and Pepsi in a more significant way today, obviously, than we were in the past," he says.

Vitamin Water's celebrity backing is also boosting its competitive edge. People like Met's star David Wright promote the product, as does 50 cent, who has a small stake in the company.

The company currently makes 13 flavors of Vitamin Water and it's hoping to introduce 3 more by the end of next year.

"We're looking to see if we should we add on new flavors. Should we cycle flavors in and out," says Dollard. "It's an ongoing process."

Hopefully it's one the consumers will continue to find refreshing.

- Ruschell Boone
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