When stocked next to the more domestic varieties of bottled water – your Poland Springs and your Deer Parks – there is always that one option that sticks out, evoking isolated exotic beauty: Fiji Water, the brand bottled in that far-off archipelago country. It was almost unbelievable that something so simple as bottled water could come from someplace so remote and exotic as… Fiji. And now, the company’s foothold on authenticity has slipped.
Following last month’s deportation of CEO David Roth, Fiji Water stopped all production today at its Fiji-based plant, the Associated Press reports. Despite these diplomacy issues, Fiji claims the move is due to increased taxes: new rates would force Fiji to pay an extra 15 cents per liter.
“This new tax is untenable and as a consequence, Fiji Water is left with no choice but to close our facility in Fiji,” the company said in a statement.
The increased taxes and Roth’s deportation both stem from disagreements with Fijian armed forces chief commodore Frank Bainamarama, who seized control of the government during a coup in 2006. It was the South Pacific country’s fourth hostile takeover since 1987.
Given this marked government instability, perhaps Fiji Water made the right move in leaving the island cluster. But the water inside those distinctive square bottles will no longer “begin as rain falling on the tropical island of Viti Levu’s luxurious north coast,” as the company’s website puts it. Nor will it “filter down through layer after layer of ancient volcanic rock.” Nor will it come from an underground aquifer “hundreds of feet below an ancient rainforest.” So choose your water accordingly!