Why is it so difficult to buy carbonated water?

Why is it so difficult to buy carbonated water? My entire household likes it and we want to buy about 20 to 30 liters a week, and for years I’ve been buying Canada Dry brand “Seltzer” at a local liquor store. But Canada Dry’s local salesman told the store owner a few weeks ago that the company is no longer selling carbonated water in the eastern United States. Now the salesman won’t return his calls and the Canada Dry’s corporate office won’t answer his questions, telling him instead that he needs to cultivate a better relationship with the salesman. It’s become so difficult that he’s dropping Canada Dry products from his store altogether now.

He’s tried to get me Schweppe’s, but their parent company will not agree to distrubute product to him.

We’ve tried Vintage brand in the past, but kept getting flat cases - that is, the carbonation has leaked out of the bottle. We’re going to try that again but I have little hope for success.

I can buy it at grocery stores but that requires a lot of trips, a lot of waits in long checkout lines (I almost never get through the line in less than 20 minutes), and dealing with loose bottles in flimsy bags that tear and dump bottles everywhere. I think I’d stop consuming the product before I go to that much trouble. I have ordered case quantities of carbonated water at 3 different grocery stores but each time received mostly flat cases. Don’t know why they all did that, but it doesn’t look like a realistic option.

And even when it was not difficult to buy, for some reason it is generally more expensive than soda pop, which is the same product with corn syrup and dye and flavoring added. Sometimes it’s as much as about three times more expensive. Corn syrup may be kind of unappealing, but it’s a surprise that companies are willing to pay money to dispose of it.

The product I’m talking about here is, technically, water with carbon dioxide dissolved in it and nothing else. Its naming varies from place to place. My local liquor store owner just tried ordering me 3 cases from some division of Pepsi, and they sent him tonic water, which he and I both believe has corn syrup and flavoring and a tiny bit of quinine in it, but the Pepsi salesman insists that “tonic water” is what Pepsi calls carbonated water. Another related product, “Club Soda”, has a variety of salts mixed in, which I don’t like. Even naming the product consistently seems to be difficult.

Why in the world is it so hard to buy carbonated water?

Anybody here have much experience with those bottles you plug CO2 cartridges into, like the Three Stooges were so fond of?

I haven’t used them myself, but here’s a page on them:

I recall an article from the American Heritage Magazine of Science and Invention from several years ago saying that pre-filled seltzer bottles were an endangered species. New York City hotels esentially got theirs from a single company in New Jersey, which filled them through the spout! Apparently that was the only opening in the traditional old bottles. There was only one old-fashioned machine still working that could fill the bottles, and it was still being used.
That must’ve been 20 years ago. I wonder if it’s still in use.

Make your own.

If you are using 20 liters a week this might be better.

Seltzer bottles. Quick search online shows them available at Target.

I have zero difficulty finding Polar seltzer in all my local supermarkets. About a dollar for a 2 liter bottle. Never gotten a flat one. The flavored (just flavoring, no sugar or corn syrup) ones are nice too.

I should have mentioned I have the first one I linked to and it works great.

I have used a product like this. Some friends I house sat for have one. It works nicely, and we considered buying one. We can get liter bottles for 50 cents, so we didn’t.
edit: Walmart sells the 50 cent liters

My workplace carries Aquafina Sparkling and I love it. I occassionally pay the extra charge at work just to bring a couple bottles home as it’s been nowhere to be found in the supermarkets. It’s a bit maddening so I understand the OP’s plight.

(Man, if they would bring back New York Seltzers, I’d be in heaven.)

20 litres a week! :eek:

Do you have a rec room? Can’t you install one of these?

I switched a few months ago and just buy it at the local super market. I have never had a bottle be flat.

Vintage is the brand I usually buy.

I personally probably drink almost 2 liters of sparkling water per day. Hey, it’s a great, great way to drink water, and it’s an excellent substitute for binge drinking beer (which used to be the only real beverage in the house). Since all I really want is a fresh, bubbly beverage, I simply binge drink the sparkling water instead.

Do make your own water, but don’t use one of those expensive “systems.” Get get a 20 lb. CO2 tank. AirGas has them for about $23 around here, plus the price of the tank, which is only a one-time expense forever. Throw on a pressure regulator, some hosing, and one of these, and a ball-lock gas connector, and you’re all set. Maybe the up-front cost will be a little higher than one of those “systems,” but you’ll save a fortune in consumables over the years. Yes, I admit I had most of this stuff due to my beermaking hobby, and so adding the carbonator cap wasn’t all that frightening. Also, I use the water filter from the fridge. Our chloriney tap water from the faucet tasted a bit off when carbonated.

If you’re sufficiently motivated, you can now make your own soda-pop. Probably the easiest is cream soda. Equal parts sugar and water boiled into a simple syrup with a bit of vanilla. Add it to your water, and voila! Other recipes are out there, too.

I buy mine at Trader Joe’s by the case- either Blu Italy or Pellegrino. I think it comes out to about $1.09 US per liter.

I always have carbonated water to drink, and I never have problems finding it. I get it in cans at my local grocery store. There’s at least two brands in my area, and I live in the middle of nowhere. I tend to get the ones with lemon or lime flavoring in them, but they always have the plain stuff as well.

You can buy Pellegrino (and occassionally other brands) by the case at Costco too.

Safeway sells it - both Club Soda and Seltzer. Identical cans - you have to watch what you’re grabbing. They do have some stores in the Mid Atlantic. I buy it in California in Vons stores, but it’s still the Safeway brand.

The sheer variety of ways that what-should-be a common beverage is sold/withheld from the buying public.
Here, 1L bottles are either store-brand or Vess, at almost all supermarkets, some liquor stores, and no gas stations, @ 79¢. Canned fizzy water is rare indeed, and overpriced “mineral water” when you find it. No 2L about that I know of. I don’t drink enough of it to justify the big can o’ CO2, but it sounds like the way to go for more serious enthusiasts.
If you’re going to make it yourself, hint: refrigerate the water first. Gas in liquid solubility goes up the lower the temperature. That’s why we like soda cold (and for Americans, beer too! :slight_smile: ).
And it’s been pointed out: WTF is up with soda being cheap and fizzy water expensive?!?!


A sorta hijack: do Europeans typically consume more carbonated water than Americans, and why?

I love carbonated water (known in my household as “yuppie water”). Our local grocery carries La Croix. We buy the cans, not the plastic bottles.

It’s popular in New York and easy to find. I buy store brands like Adirondack, Polar, or Zazz. I also buy Vintage and I’ve never had a flat one.

But I think it’s a regional thing. I know when I visit Texas it’s extremely difficult to find any store selling seltzer water. Especially if you want single cans.

Here in Dallas, Canada Dry sells 2 liter bottles of sparkling water, sparkling water with lime, sparkling water with mandarin orange, and sparkling water with cranberry.

They cost about $1.25, I think, and are sold with the bottled water or sodas, not the drink mixers.