It took me a while to solve the riddle of what happened to Tom First’s second act in the beverage business as I haven’t spoken to him personally since I was working with Coca-Cola and was presented an offer to work for Nantucket Nectar’s with the territory of Long Island, NY. I had read a while back that Concord, MA had banned single serve water bottles and remembered that OWater was previously based in West Concord, MA. OWater’s webpage seems to have died in 2009 with no new updates or events and contains dead contact info. I could buy it online, though, I was having trouble finding it in a store.
On a recent casual Saturday near the expansion of the Newport Winery the mystery was solved. There on upon a wooden bench lay a newly designed OWater bottle, left as trash, with Concord, MA still listed on the bottle. I found the tiny 800 number in print and called since curiosity had gotten the better of me. The news I learned was outdated and old as most former employees had been phased out long ago.
BevNet, had the early scoop, that on August 24, 2010, Tom First “Thirsty”, confirmed acquisition talks with Polar Beverages. After being transferred around to a bunch of people who didn’t want to be named they all summarized that all aspects of the OWater were being handled by Polar executives from manufacturing, new bottle designs right down to distribution and sales. When I asked about Tom, they casually mentioned that he was most likely off on some new adventure but not active with the brand.
Polar Beverages has acquired many brands to bring their portfolio from regional acceptance to making great strides on a national scale. They also do a strong private label and contract manufacturing business. When looking for a larger space after a large expansion they decided to remain loyal to their employees and remained in Worcester.
Perhaps, now would be a good time, to take Concord off the bottle?