Our first love? Glacier water. Our very first water partner, Clear Alaskan Glacial, is the only glacier-sourced bottled water in the country, tapped from a stunning 12,000 year-old glacier in rural Eklutna, Alaska. We sat down with Clear Alaskan Glacial co-owner Stacia Gillam to learn more.
How did you decide to bottle water?
Rob [Gillam, Stacia’s partner and husband], is a third-generation Alaskan, which is very unusual because most people haven't lived here that long. He is very committed to his state and its resources, and he saw the opportunity that Alaska has — the amount of freshwater that we have that’s accessible and clean — to share that resource with the world.
Tell us about your source. How does one go about tapping glacier water?
There isn’t much above-ground glacier water that’s road-accessible in the world. Most glaciers are very remote, and the water that they produce by melting is underground. Eklutna Lake is unique in that it’s above ground and road-accessible, so we’re able to take the water and bottle it at the source.
Tell us about Clear Alaskan Glacial's environmental efforts.
Coming from Alaska, we’re very committed to natural resources, because we live and work in the last frontier. We are certified carbon neutral as both a company and a product, and that means that we buy carbon offset credits in New York state through Natural Capital Partners, which is the oldest carbon-neutral credit firm in the country. In addition to that, we don’t just offset what we do; we try to run a very eco-friendly business. We use a natural gas turbine to power our efforts, as well as geothermal heat recovery. Everything we bring into the plant is recycled, and we’re spearheading a statewide recycling program in Alaska. Right now, recycling only happens in metro areas, so since we’re working throughout the state, we’re partnering with smaller vendors to bring recycling back to town.
What is the most unique thing about your water?
Our glacier source. It’s very unique. Lots of people have pristine spring water or aquifers that they tap, but we’re the only glacier source in the States. There are thousands and thousands of glaciers in Alaska, and this is just the one that we happen to have access to. Glaciers melt from the bottom, not the top. It’s not common sense, but because they melt from bottom — and because glacier ice is snow that fell thousands and thousands of years ago, heavily compacted until it eventually becomes a lake — the ice that’s trapped under the bottom dates to before the industrial revolution, nuclear testing, and everything else that we’ve done as society. For people who are really interested in pure, natural water, it’s as good as it gets.