On a recent family vacation, we traveled to Kentucky to tour Bourbon Country. Using an Airbnb in Louisville as our home base for 4 days, we drank our way around the region and discovered that not only is their bourbon fantastic, but their water goes down easy, too. Derby City has an especially impressive public works department and, with just over 1 million customers, Louisville pure tap is the first and only utility-trademarked drinking water.

In addition to providing good tasting H2O, Louisville Water takes customer engagement to another level. In addition to their mascot, Tapper, the utility has created a clever way to promote their award-winning water – labeling and serving what comes out of the tap. By providing free, reusable bottles to customers and water cooler rentals for special events, the Fill and Chill program is a resourceful approach to reduce landfill waste and save money. This program was mentioned in a recent article by Kevin Westerling for WaterOnline that went on to celebrate Louisville Water as a model for utility sustainability and operations.

Another example of innovative promotion is the Purely Local Business initiative, which highlights restaurants and companies that serve tap water. Promoting the locally-sourced drinking water through promotional programs like Fill and Chill and Purely Local, is a resourceful way to educate customers on the value of the water supply and distribution operations and will hopefully increase local appreciation for the assets, infrastructure, and operations supporting it.

The limestone aquifers provide the ideal geologic conditions for natural water filtration, and this pure-tasting water just so happens to be perfect for whiskey distillation. With over 20 working distilleries making 200 different brands and types, the stable alkalinity and calcium levels and lack of iron contribute to the good taste and helps the flavor dynamic of the whiskey. I admittedly don’t have a very discriminating pallet and most of the complex chemistry of the distillation process was lost on me, but I left Kentucky with a case of my favorite bottles of bourbon and a newfound respect for the local utility. Louisville Water is an innovator in promoting the value of their local water supply and their approach to sustainability and conservation is inspiring; I’ll drink to that.

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