PT Barnum would have loved the concepts behind Liquid Death

Plastic is evil.

Aluminum is good.

This is the premise behind another “water product” dubbed “Liquid Death”.

I rarely buy bottled water.

When I do, it’s to take “just in case” in the car or at home.

I’ve been drinking tap water for 66 years. It hasn’t killed me yet.

I’ve even been known – horror of horrors – to drink water from a garden hose.

A few years ago, while I was doing this while watering in the front yard, a passerby warned me of the danger of this practice.

Rest assured that the carcinogens found in garden hoses today are downright healthy compared to what they contained in the 1960s.

It was during this time that drinking from a garden hose was a daily summer routine for children.

Why I bought two cans of Liquid Death for over $1 a pop while shopping last weekend at WinCo in Tracy was simple.


I thought that was a stupid name.

The part of me that spent $5 on a Pet Rock in the middle of 1976, about seven months after they sold like hotcakes for $10 during the 1975 Christmas season, decided to buy two cans of Liquid Death as a gag.

If you have no idea what a Pet Rock is, this is the marketing and packaging genius that PT Barnum would have loved.

It was a smooth beach rock placed in a McDonald’s Happy Meal-style wrapper with some straw and a 32-page owner’s manual on how to care for a Pet Rock.

I bought “Mountain Water” and “Severed Lime” from Liquid Death.

Again, the name hooked me.

I tasted better water.

And it’s not just water from a cold mountain stream at 11,000 feet that passes through a purification system.

The tap water in the town of Manteca was left in the refrigerator for a few days so that the chlorine – the last treatment which is a kind of over-insurance in the treatment process – could dissipate. Nothing tastes better or is cooler than tap water in the refrigerator that has been left in a thick glass container.

And this bottle is reusable.

This is an important point given what supposedly drives the people selling Liquid Death.

They proudly point out on their cans – and on their website – that the average aluminum can is made from 70% recycled aluminum, while the average plastic bottle is only 3% recycled material.

They also cite the fact that more than 75% of the aluminum produced since 1888 is still in use thanks mainly to recycling.

The company also donates 10% of its profits – which you’ll find obscene in a moment – from every can sold is donated to charities to help eliminate plastic pollution.

Such high-profile statements might lead you to believe that Liquid Death is at the forefront of green sensibilities.

Far from there.

The “mountain water”, according to the folks at Liquid Death, was imported from the Austrian Alps.

It doesn’t take a Greta Thunberg to grasp the madness of this.

The carbon footprint of canning water in Austria and then shipping it by boat, train and truck to reach store shelves in Tracy is insane.

Especially when it’s something you can get by just turning on a tap.

And I may not be a connoisseur of water, whether mountain, spring or imported from France, I seriously doubt that the masses on which they are counting on buying Liquid Death are either.

I’m not being hypocritical in that ‘mountain water’ was not as good tasting as other waters. And even though it stayed in the fridge for two days, it wasn’t as cold as a reusable glass container.

So how frivolous is it to buy Liquid Death and other bottled or canned waters in 16.9 ounce containers, as opposed to, say, buying a Pet Rock?

Take a look at your city of Manteca water bill.

There is a charge of $17.15 per month for the cost of maintenance, operation and eventual replacement of certain parts of the municipal water system. Just like your house, it needs repairs and replacements over the years.

Then there’s the charge for the water you actually use.

It uses water jargon instead of plain language to tell you about your usage in the CCFs. One CCF equals 100 cubic feet of water.

Still can’t visualize this?

The 100 cubic feet of water equals 748 gallons or 95,744 ounces.

And based on 16.9 ounces of water in containers, we spend between $1 and $2 on your neighborhood 7-Eleven, that 100 cubic feet of water fills 5,665 water bottles.

The City of Manteca charges you $1.05 per cubic foot for actual water use or the equivalent of water you can purchase by purchasing 5,665 16.9-ounce bottles.

Yes, a true apple to apple comparison would add up the monthly base price you pay for city water service.

It’s a little hard to do without knowing how many 16.9 ounce bottles of water you buy each month. But given that it’s a far cry from 5,665 bottles, that basic monthly rate of $17.15 barely adds to the cost per equivalent bottle of water obtained from the city.

And if it really is a matter of taste/quality/health, why do the same people who avoid tap water not hesitate to drink water served to them in a restaurant instead of taking their own bottles? You’ll never guess where restaurants get the water they serve to customers.
Between the marketing of the major bottlers – many of which are owned by soda companies – and the “scared” posts on the internet about domestic water supplies, they’ve done an effective job of scaring people out of their money to buy something that costing them 5,665 times more than it should.
If you doubt the safety of tap water, consider this: Manteca households benefit from state-of-the-art technology at the South San Joaquin County Surface Water Treatment Plant, which is arguably the most advanced in the region.
Yet people will buy Select brand water from Safeway which is bottled at Merced and initially goes through municipal treatment which is not as advanced in efficiency as Manteca’s.
In terms of safety and price – and I would say the taste if you let it sit for a while so the chlorine gases can disperse – what comes from your tap is superior to what comes in a plastic bottle of a plant that uses municipal water from elsewhere that is not treated as carefully as that of Manteca.

As for Liquid Death, I reached my lifetime limit of two cans.

This column is the opinion of the editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of the Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at [email protected]