Updated 03/14/2013 05:57 PM
Water dethrones soda as nation's favorite beverage
Soda may have struck a victory earlier this week when a judge shot down New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's ban on large sugary drinks, but the fizzy beverage no longer reigns supreme in the eyes of most Americans. As YNN's Matt Hunter reports, the new beverage king is a drink that's been associated with Saratoga Springs for centuries.
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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Freeman Hopp is so hooked, he goes through six gallons a week.
"There are springs in Troy, but it can't compare to this," said Hopp, who lives in Saratoga Springs.
Nicole Busch finds it so desirable, she's willing to drive a full hour to get her fix.
"It's just got a really clean taste. It's very fresh," said Busch, who travels to Saratoga from Delanson.
What is this beverage they can't get enough of? Not a new item on store shelves, but one of the Earth's oldest and most abundant resources: Good old H2O.
"We drink a lot of water. We don't drink really anything else but water,” said Busch, who stopped to fill up more than a dozen one-gallon bottles at the natural spring on Geyser Road Thursday afternoon. “We go through it really fast, really fast."
For two decades, water has lagged behind soda as the nation's favorite beverage, but this year that trend was finally reversed.
According to Beverage Digest, water is now tops with Americans consuming an average of 58 gallons a year, 14 more than sugary soda.
"To see that people are choosing the healthiest alternative beverage that the human body essentially needs, it's good," said Adam Madkour, chief operating officer of the Saratoga Spring Water Company.
Long before horse racing became the city's trademark, water was king in Saratoga. Native Americans have long believed the natural spring water here holds mystical healing powers. To this day, countless people rely on it to quench their thirst.
"All the springs that were just bubbling in this area for a millennia just make it a Mecca for spring water," said Madkour, whose father purchased the company in 2001.
"I come here daily,” said Saratoga Springs Resident Conrad Young, after filling up several jugs on Geyser Road. “Whenever I need it, I come to get water."
"I feel really refreshed," remarked nine-year-old Fiona Taylor after filling up a bottle at the spring.
With the more than century old Saratoga Spring Water Company selling upwards of 10 million cases a year in 42 states, the city's drink of choice is no longer a local secret. That's perhaps part of the reason why Americans have followed suit.
"What is it? Ninety-nine percent of our body is made up of water or something like that,” Busch said. “It makes you feel good."
"To see a trend like that, it's good for all of us whether we're in the water business or not," Madkour said.