AWARD AFTER AWARD FOR BOTANICAL WATER: Koorlong beverage-maker, AquaBotanical has just been awarded Best Aqua Drink and Best Technology Innovation for their botanical water. This is the fourth year in a row that the company has been acknowledged on the world stage for their innovative product. The brains behind the company success, Dr Bruce Kambouris is pictured with one of his award-winning bottles of water.

By JOHN DOOLEY

WHEN it comes to competing on the world stage, it seems AquaBotanical is an ever-enduring star, with the local beverage-maker picking up two more prestigious accolades at the year’s Zenith’s InnoBev Awards, held in Prague, on April 18.

This year, the Koorlong bottler was awarded Best Aqua Drink and Best Technology Innovation for their botanical water.

The company is fast becoming synonymous with winning awards. In 2015 it won the Food Industry Innovation Award at the Global Bottled Water Awards (GBWA), and in the following year ‘Best New Water Concept’ and ‘Best Sustainability Initiative’ at the GBWA in Prague.

Last year AquaBotanical was back in the spotlight, this time in Germany, where the company collected another two gongs in similar categories at the ‘Zenith InnoBev’ Awards.

The brainchild of inventor and scientist Dr Bruce Kambouris, the AquaBotanical process enables naturally-occurring water from locally grown fruit and vegetables to be harvested at the same time as juice concentrate is manufactured.

The globally-patented process allows the extraction and utilisation of every available drop of water contained in fruit and vegetables, with everything from carrots to grapes being used to capture the ‘nectar-of-life’ in a sustainable way.

Dr Kambouris said that the global awards had given further prominence to the uniqueness of his product.

“People are realising that botanical water could be something that mainstream beverage bottling companies need to consider other than the traditional spring and mineral waters,” he said.

“I think botanical water is now becoming a very acceptable category, and this was acknowledged and resulted in us receiving the Best Technology award.”

Dr Kambouris holds the world-wide patent for the production of botanical water, and is very upbeat about the opportunities it could provide in developing ecomomies like India and China.

“I am going to India in May to discuss introducing the technology and the equipment required to produce botanical water,” he said.

“There is a global shortage of fresh water – particularly in countries like India – and that isn’t going to ease off suddenly, and so by introducing the technology to juice concentrators, such as the sugar industry there is potential to produce tens of millions of a litres of water using our process.”

Dr Kambouris said there was no shortage of the raw vegetable product required to extract the water from sugar refining process.

“The sugar industry around the world is huge. For example, they will crush the cane and extract the ‘sugar-juice,’ which is basically 90 percent water,” he said.

“What they will tend to do is remove this water by whatever means they can, in order to concentrate the solids in the juice, which results in the production of raw sugar.

“Using my technology, what would otherwise have been discarded as waste is able to be captured and converted into storable water, which can pass the high standards for factory operations, for example boilers, cooling towers, and other operations, but at the same time, you can also drink it.”

Dr Kambouris said China is another country that would benefit enormously from this technology.

“Even here in Australia, I have had a lot of enquiries for the technology and we are about to start manufacturing the equipment and installing it in companies here,” he said.

“Therefore, over and above the requirement for a new water source for the beverage bottling industry, it can also be used for by industry in their manufacturing operations.”

Dr Kambouris said the take-home message for this new technology, which creates a new source of water, is that it’s proven to be liked by consumers; is available to be produced in most countries, and it has a small carbon footprint from production to market.

“The amazing thing is that this comes from Mildura, and we have now won numerous international awards for the product and are recognised on the international stage,” he said.

“Four years ago when I was showing this product abroad, and I said that this water is made in Mildura, Australia, most of them didn’t know where Mildura was.

“Then suddenly, four times in a row, year after year, we are the champions. It’s really and truly something that all Australians should be proud of because our fruit and vegetables are amazing.

“We now have people interested in taking Australian botanical water into China, Japan, Turkey, and the Middle East – why? Because it’s quality Australian produce that’s at the heart of its production, clean and green – potentially Australia could be a big exporter of water one day.”