100 years of Spa Monopole: still live and kicking
Spa is synonymous with old and fashionable resorts for royalty, aristocrats, rich bourgeoisie and elite VIPs, luxurious baths and hotels, and refers to perhaps the oldest casino in the world or the natural beauty of the nearby High Fens. But of course, everything started with the well-known drinking water sources.
The sources of iron and carbonated mineral water, the pouhons, owe their existence to their geographically favourable location. They saw use as early as Roman times. It is sometimes said that the name of the town derives from the Latin spargere, meaning ‘to spring’, ‘to spout’. 300 springs are scattered over the hills surrounding the town, especially in the High Fens, a protected area to prevent pollution. Each source follows a different course, giving the water a specific taste and special properties. It can take up to 60 years for it to penetrate the peat moss and seep through the various soil layers. The water trade flourished mainly in the 18th century, fell back in the 19th century and revived again at the end of that century and in the early 20th century.
April 1921 was a new milestone in the history of the spa and its curative waters, with the creation by Knight de Thier of the Spa Monopole company. From then on, exploitation took on an industrial dimension, although it began modestly. The grandfather of the current Administrator-General supplied the carbon dioxide and asked to be reimbursed with shares in the company in exchange for his unpaid invoices. A smart move by a visionary entrepreneur! Every year, Spa Monopole, the town's largest employer, bottles a wide range of bottles in the hundreds of millions: the legendary pure Spa Reine (blue), the powerful bubbles of Spa Intense (red), the subtle Spa Finesse (green) and the light fruit flavours of Spa Touch, without sugar or sweeteners, and the surprising fruit sodas of 100% natural origin. A true success story for that purveyor to the royal household, Spa Monopole, that even King Philippe and Queen Mathilde came to celebrate.
In 2021, it is the pride of the Belgian royal couple, but the American general Courtney Hodges was praising Spa Monopole's achievements as early as 1944. His 200,000 troops, stationed in the area, were out of ... Coke. Spa Monopole rescued them from this by importing the precious syrup from the US. Cola with water from the High Fens was the tasty and much-envied result.