Shocker! Tesco Change Their Mineral Water

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Barley Rubble

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Went into my local Tesco Supermarket today, to stock up on mineral water for my brews. Now I have always known their own brand mineral water as Tesco Ashbeck English Natural Mineral Water. I always buy the six x 2 litre packs as they are slightly better value than the larger 5 litre bottles.
Anyways, I didn't even check the labelling until I got home and noticed it was now called Elmhurst English Natural Mineral Water!
I still had a couple of Ashbeck at home, so I checked the composition labels to see if there were any differences when compared.

Tesco Ashbeck; Composition typical values per litre as sold: Calcium 11.0 mg. Magnesium 3.5 mg. Potassium 2.5 mg. Sodium 10.0 mg. Bicarbonate 25.0 mg. Sulphate 11.0 mg. Nitrate 15.0 mg. Chloride 14.0 mg. Dry Residue @ 180 degrees c 85.0 mg. pH (at source) 6.2.

Tesco Elmhurst; Composition typical values per litre as sold: Calcium 40.0 mg. Magnesium 14.0 mg. Potassium 3.0 mg. Sodium 6.0 mg. Bicarbonate 166 mg. Sulphate 10.0 mg. Nitrate 8.0 mg. Chloride 11.0 mg. Dry Residue @ 180 degrees c 228.0 mg. pH (at source) 7.8.

The Ashbeck is bottled at source in Armathwaite, Cumbria. The Elmhurst is bottled at source in WS13 8EL, Staffordshire.

As you can see, there are several differences to the composition values of both waters when compared.

Anyone know why they have changed the sources of their own brand mineral waters?
 

johncrobinson

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I cant answer your question directly Barney.
But I would say this is a timely reminder to always check,!!!!
The supermarkets are always changing the specs of their products,Often without warning.!!!!
While they don't probably imagine that their products are used for homebrew purposes and so think it does not matter.
Of course changes can be critical for our purposes.
Unfortunately supermarkets are not the only ones that do this,Homebrew manufacturers are also guity as charged.
 

Didge

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I would imagine its all down to cost and convenience, the same reason I use tap water (albeit treated with campden tablets).

One thing I do know, like ALL bottled water in the UK, it would fail EU water quality standards if that came out of a tap. Just like "Peckham Spring", I am aware of 2 brands of bottled water that are sourced directly from the public water supply.

I must admit I am slightly biased as I work for a water company and I have always been fortunate to enjoy hard water for my brewing.
 
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An Ankoù

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The bicarbonate level has increased by more than six fold. I imagine that would be a problem for many beer styles.
 

Ajhutch

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Bugger. I think you’ll be able to get that alkalinity down to Ashbeck levels using lactic acid though, without crossing the lactic taste threshold so all isn’t lost. I used to use Ashbeck so I could make pale ales without additions, but I had a bit of an epiphany about plastic (I’d bought too many to reuse them any more....) so treated tap water it is now.
 

terrym

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I think you bought the wrong water. Ashbeck is still available if you look at the Tesco website. 'Elmhurt' water used to 'Stockwell Chase Spring' water and before that Tesco cheap 17p a 2 litre bottle water but it all comes from the same source which is as far as I am aware is a deep well owned by South Staffs water, and near Elmhurst, Lichfield.
 

Didge

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Im fairly sure that Tesco's cheap water is just filtered tap water.

Coca Cola did the same with their premium bottled water, it was just filtered tap water from Sidcup. Not quite as sexy as their clever marketing would suggest.
 

Northern_Brewer

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Anyone know why they have changed the sources of their own brand mineral waters?
Water is heavy. Is it cheaper or more expensive to truck it from Lichfield to Berkshire, or from Cumbria to Berkshire?

To be precise, the bottling plant near Lichfield belongs to a Japanese/French-owned company called CG Roxane using water from Elmhurst : £20m bottled water plant in Staffordshire approved

One way of looking at it, that Tesco are now trucking water from within 10 miles of Burton, right to your door! It's not the famous Burton deep well-water though, I guess it would probably be closer to the Worthington shallow well if I could be bothered to dig up the details - Ron Pattinson has published them in the past.

Yes it has more bicarbonate, you can always boil it.
 
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foxbat

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I noticed the same last time I was in Tesco buying brewing water. Ashbeck was still there in the 5 litre size so I bought that instead.

Sainsbury do an Ashbeck equivalent - the owners of the spring bottle for a few different labels.
 

Northern_Brewer

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I think you bought the wrong water. Ashbeck is still available if you look at the Tesco website.
It could be that they're offering different water to people in different parts of the country, which is the norm in places like France - it's heavy and expensive to truck, but normal people aren't that bothered about what exact water they get.

Im fairly sure that Tesco's cheap water is just filtered tap water.
Or as brewers would know it - RO water.
 

chillipickle

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I went to pick some 5ltr bottles from the main local store, they normally have a couple of pallets full of the 5ltr bottles.I thought it was a little odd that there was maybe a dozen bottles on the floor left.
Your post explains why.

Edit: hopefully just a stock issue, also it was £1.10 for 5ltrs, normally £1.15
 

Didge

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I do wonder if the 2500% profit margin has anything to do with it?

Ironically, going back to the original post, the Drinking Water Inspectorate has rated Berkshire's water quality as the third best in England. Its also moderately hard which is very favourable for beer brewing.

Berkshire enjoys many craft breweries that are no doubt using the mains water supply, so I would suggest using staffordshire water over your own might be somewhat of a backwards (& expensive) step.

Ps. I am in no way supported by Thames Water, and it hurts me to admit their water quality is better than my own water company :cool:
 

terrym

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It could be that they're offering different water to people in different parts of the country, which is the norm in places like France - it's heavy and expensive to truck, but normal people aren't that bothered about what exact water they get.
Ashbeck and Elmhurst both available on the Tesco website, but no ultra cheap water since Elmhurst now costs about twice as much as its predecessor Stockwell Chase Spring water, and is similarly priced to Ashbeck. Perhaps Tesco are going to phase out Ashbeck after all.
And irrespective of whether water is expensive to move about the country there is obviously money to be made by selling it, and the production and distribution costs will be more than exceeded by the profit margin, probably many times over.
 

chillipickle

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Didge, you should come and try my drinking water, i live in the royal bourough.I can tell you now our tap water is nasty and i wont even let the dog drink it.
It's aggressivley hard and absolutley stinks of chlorine most days.

Not much good for ipa's, i am going to take a few samples from friends who live local and test their water to see how it fairs up.When possible i will call in and talk to a couple of the local breweries and ask them about their water treatment.
 

foxbat

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I'm brewing next week, which I do exclusively with Ashbeck, so this thread sent me on a panic buying run to our local Tesco from which I've just returned. It was the same story as last month. Elmhurst replaces Ashbeck in the 6x2l size. Ashbeck still there in 5l size (which I bought). Aqua Pura on the shelves as well but only in the expensive and plastic-heavy 24x500ml size.

Tesco have done this before. A year or so ago something they called 'Perthshire' started appearing with the Ashbeck branding. It stuck for a while then Ashbeck came back so it might just be supply issues that they're having.
 

MmmBeer

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I have used Ashbeck, either as brewing liquor, or as sterile water to make up Starsan, rehydrate yeast etc. I have also at times used Asda's cheap water, labelled simply as 'Still' or the same purposes. From memory, this had slightly higher mineral content than Asbeck, but still lower than most, so I did a quick look on Asda's website and found that the mineral amounts seem to have shot up, looking closer, the values seemed familiar, then there at the bottom it states 'Bottled at source - Elmhurst spring, Staffordshire.'
 

Leon103

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Thank **** I have water coming out of my tap.
 

dan125

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@dan125 sell those shares in ashbeck
Ill be investing in an RO system with the profits if this is right.... don't want to be dealing with the bicarbonate levels in the alternative.
Or maybe just shop elsewhere :laugh8:
 

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