Selling Air

I remember my dad’s quizzical look when he first learned that water was being sold in bottles.  “Selling water?  Why don’t they sell air with it?” was the printable part of his response,  (Yeah, I know, apples, trees… whatever.)

I confess to having pretty much the same reaction when Combat Controller pointed me at this latest example of foolishness:

Now I have to confess that I thought that this was a spoof / satirical website, and actually refused to believe my friend’s statement that this was, in fact, a bone fide  “product” and not some gag to be played on the gullible.  Or a piece of Harry Potter merchandise.

However, Doggery’s “craft ice” is being sold in stores, and CC sent me photographic proof thereof.


There are two schools of thought on this kind of thing.  The first is that of people like Combat Controller, who suggests that we as a nation are so prosperous that we can afford to sell stuff like this, and find a market for it.

I, however, see this as some kind of portent, similar to those things and events which may have appeared a couple of years before the Roman Empire collapsed into ruins.

On the other hand, my dad thought the same about bottled water, and here we still are, lo these many years later.

Your thoughts in Comments.


  1. I’ve purchased 2 bottles of water in my life, that’s all. Both have been sitting in the lower compartment of the console in my Blazer for emergency purposes for more than 4 years.

    If I am leaving the compound for more than say, 4 hours, I have several double wall stainless steel bottles I fill at the house for taking along. If you can’t go a few hours without water you have either a health problem or most likely a mental issue. People that routinely carry water bottles are virtue signaling of the most pathetic kind.

    1. Sorry, but I disagree on that “if you can’t go without” sentiment.

      I live and work in Florida. When the temps and humidity are both in the low 90s, you sweat a LOT, and you start feeling the effects in a short time, no matter how healthy you claim to be.

      There’s also a lot of places where the tap water is, well, bad. I was in a hotel in Texas this week where the in-room water was rancid-tasting, and the hotel gave out bottled water for free. (You know it’s pretty bad when a big hotel passes up the chance to charge you for something.)

      1. “There’s also a lot of places where the tap water is, well, bad.”

        My parents came to visit me at my 1st radio gig, and I took them out to dinner. The municipal water supply fit your description & the restaurant spiked their water pitchers with slices of citrus, which made for an attractive display. The waitress, who was a friend of mine, topped off our water glasses & Dad remarked on the aesthetic. I explained that it was more than just decorative & my friend the waitress blurted out “Yeah, Prosser water tastes like cum.” Then she turned red and fled.

        Mom let it lie for a beat or two & said “She seems nice.”

    2. I live in Texas. You can’t be outside for more than an hour or two without water.

      I also am a throat cancer survivor. And even though I’ve trained my brain that the super parched feeling in my throat doesn’t mean I’m dying of thirst, I can only go for so long.

      That said, I’m with you. I have steel water bottles. The benefit there is you can fill them with ice.

  2. Oh for fuck’s sake:

    “A well-crafted cocktail and crystal-clear ice create stunning synergy that can’t be ignored.”

    Watch me.

  3. There’s three kinds of bottled water, one where you’re paying for some special ingredient (ranging from electrolytes to a fancy name), one where you’re paying for some (possibly only perceived) level of purity, and one where you’re paying for it being put in a bottle and shipped to where you need it in a form that lets you take it with you.

    Given the…differential state of personal cleanliness and hygiene in our culture today, do you *really* want to drink from a fountain that some dreadlocked junkie just coughed into?

    Personally I tend to carry a refillable bottle with me when I leave the house, but again, do I really want to refill it from a fountain or bathroom sink that the general public has been using?

    I wonder whether one could make a smallish reverse osmosis water filtration system to fill reusable bottles small enough to fit in a gas station. Sell bottles with a QR code on them, and then you could just stick your bottle in the machine and it would fill it with unreasonably pure water and bill you at the end of every month. Or you just stick a quarter in for a pint of “pure” water.

    As for “Artisnal Icecubes”? Ye

  4. I mean, ice carving has been a thing at super posh joints for a long time, so wanting pretty ice cubes seems like an extension of that. Solid “meh” and a shrug from me. A fool and his money or something…

    1. This is true. Add to it the fact that ice will take on the flavor of your freezer, and a neutral product that doesn’t add unwanted flavors to your cocktails is a desirable product.
      Rinsing the ice you have in your refrigerator goes a long way towards the flavor, and it’s been awhile since I read about clear ice, but it has to be frozen slowly, however that is possible given the physics of the phase change.

    2. When I lived in Fairbanks, there was an international (truly) ice carving competition. IIRC, there were certain gravel pits they quarried the ice from because those were the sources that had actually clear ice. I’m pretty sure my kids licked the sculptures.

  5. If this con job flies, I’m going to make a killing in diet water, including diet designer ice cubes.
    Just have to get some *spit*influencer*spit* to endorse it.

  6. While I won’t pay money for it, I want to stand up for the craft ice.

    I make my own.

    If you drink spirits, you can swig directly from the bottle, or pour into a dixie cup (or Red Solo Cup), or a mason jar, or you can decide to have a little class, and use decent glassware.

    If you use ice and decent glassware, you might notice (especially in Houston, where the water sucks and is very hard) that you’re putting white blobs of godknowswhat into your fine spirits.

    Since I like to play around with classic cocktails I started watching cocktail videos on YouTube, mostly Greg from the How To Drink channel.

    Now I have special glassware for G&T, Nick & Nora, Rocks, and Coupe glasses, and the contrast of the white blobs of ice is even greater. So I found out how to make super clear ice, and I keep a ziploc full in my freezer for cocktail nights.

    Instructions abound on the the internet, but it’s mainly a matter of freezing your water from the top down (I use a 6-pack insulated cooler in the deep freeze) and then slicing it into cubes with a purpose-dedicated bread knife (and a mallet).

    Esthetics count, and a rocks glass with a single, crystal clear cube, surrounded by decent blended Scotch and a dash of soda is beautiful to look at.

    1. Yup. I occasionally (nightly) have a glass of bourbon with a single ice cube. You’re right, the Houston water is only fit for toilet flushing. I double filter it and then freeze it. Mostly clear, with just a little white in the bottom portion. It looks good and doesn’t mangle the taste of the bourbon as it melts. And the larger cubes (or spheres) present less surface area than several smaller ice cubes, thus less melting while you drink, thus less dilution of your drink.

      Of course, if I run out of ice, I just drink it straight from a blue-enameled tin coffee cup like any good redneck.

    2. LPD, a lot of people make their own ice. I know of at least three people who get bottled water and freeze it in a purpose-function freezer — i.e. a normal commercial freezer like Frigidaire which contains no foods or anything other than the bottled water.
      I think it’s silly — kind of like the coffee- or tea fetishists who imbue the creation of their drink with all the fervor of alchemy — but I understand it, just as I understand people who only eat vegetables or fruit grown in their own gardens.
      It’s all the same thing.
      But I wouldn’t BUY designer ice, under any circumstances.

    3. It’s simpler to just boil the water first. Maybe second if you need to filter it. That drives the dissolved gasses out of the water and you get nice clear ice cubes when you use moulds.

      Or you can buy artificial cubes and freeze those so you avoid diluting the drink.

  7. The thing about bottled water is that they aren’t selling water, they’re selling convenience. We buy a lot of it for our volunteers in dogsports – a person working a score table or a ring gate can’t always take a break to find a water fountain, so having a bottle of water right there is handy.

    That said, I guess lots of people buy it for household use. I don’t understand that – this isn’t Mexico or France; you can safely drink the water that comes out of your faucets.

    And the ice? Uh, okay. I guess that if there’s a market, what the hell.

    1. > you can safely drink the water that comes out of your faucets.

      Or Flint, IIRC.

  8. I see this trend, and I wonder how I can get in on it to sell my own variety of extra special craft ice and water.
    As for my own consumption, I decided long ago that if I could not taste the difference (or disliked a difference I could taste), I was not buying.

  9. I thought we where screwed with Pet Rocks.

    Buying ice seems to be a solution in search of a problem

  10. Twenty odd years ago I asked a caterer at a party we were throwing about which of the several ice companies produced the best party ice. It was a question that he’d never really contemplated. I’d forgotten about the incident until just now.
    We always have a pitcher of filtered water on the kitchen counter although our tap water is perfectly fine. We have settled on the Zero Water brand after having used Brita filters for years and the Pur filters that screw onto the faucet. The water at our vacation home over in Delaware and when we had a boat were not that great. I forget the brand, but we even used a filter when filling up the 105 gallon fresh water tank on the boat and then filtered it again at the tap.

  11. I can see the point in interesting ice cube moulds or ice sculptures, but actual ice cubes? Brain blown. Heaven forfend that their customers breed.

  12. As others have pointed out, a lot of bottled water is sold because most municipal water supplies, though they may be safe to drink, taste like ass – with a hint of chlorine. Plus, there is the convenience thing. Ice, on the other hand, I’m not so sure about, but whatever. As long as they are spending their own money, why should I or anyone else give a shit. After all, none of us are complaining that our esteemed host, given the chance, would waste thousands on British sport cars do we? (((Ping!)))

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