Deep-sea water bottling gets lift
By Sean Hao
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Sean Hao
Koyo USA Corp. yesterday announced the opening of a $45 million bottling plant on the Kona Coast that will boost production of desalinated deep-sea water to 1 million bottles a day.
Collected from 3,000 feet below the ocean's surface, the deep-sea water is being snapped up by health-conscious Japanese who pay $3 to $5 a bottle for the water, which is marketed as a pure and nutrient-rich drink. Koyo, which is the state's largest seawater bottler, has helped make the fancy water Hawai'i's third-largest foreign export during the first quarter and the top all-locally produced export.
Hawai'i's non-sweetened water exports soared 700 percent during the first three months of this year to $8.8 million, according to the Foreign Trade Zone Division of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Those figures are likely to rise now that Koyo's third bottling plant is operating at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority in Kailua on the Big Island.
The other two bottling companies now in operation at NELHA are Enzamin USA Inc. and Hawaii Deep Marine Inc. Another company, Deep SeaWater International, hopes to begin bottling at the research park by the end of September.
This year, Koyo expects to export $36 million worth of MaHaLo-brand water to Japan and the U.S. Mainland. Wholesale sales are expected to rise $40 million next year as the company ramps up marketing in Europe and rolls out new products.
"We are expanding MaHaLo deep-sea water beyond drinking," said Yasuki Takano, president of Koyo USA. "It is now used as a base in Brew Moon beer and Hawaii Sea Spirits' Ocean Vodka and will soon be used in the production of various cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
"We are also planning to manufacture MaHaLo water in glass bottles for exclusive sales to restaurants and hotels."
Koyo USA already ships 200, 40-foot Matson containers of MaHaLo water each month. That is equivalent to the length of 22 football fields.
Reach Sean Hao at email@example.com.