We thought it was a bit weird when a water-only cafe selling filtered NYC tap water opened up in the East Village last July. But the world of water just got way weirder. Martin Riese is a water sommelier—yes, he has developed a “water program” for the L.A. restaurant Ray’s & Stark and has his own water brand. In maybe the most brilliant naming of a product in history, Riese dubbed his water “Beverly Hills 9OH20.” Since reading that water sommeliers exist, and visiting the 9OH20 brand’s website, we are fairly certain the world cannot get any douchier.
In an email interview with Alcademics, Riese says he first developed a bottled water program featuring over 40 different brands at a restaurant he worked at in Germany. “I could almost not believe how different all the waters can taste and the impact they had to the wine and food experience,” says Riese. Among the waters he wants to feature at Ray’s & Starks are Iskilde from Denmark, “which has a very unique earth taste,” or Vichy Catalan, “which is very salty and high in minerals.” Riese isn’t actually a certified “water sommelier”, seeing that the certification doesn’t exist, but he says he’s done enough tastings and matchings to refer to himself as such.
We don’t doubt that there is a certain subset of the L.A. population that will be absolutely enamoured with Ray’s & Stark’s water program. They will clamour over the Danish Iskilde water and drink it over industry lunch meetings at which they finalize billion dollar movie deals. The models and to-be actresses hauled in by the truck-full from Arkansas might also appreciate the designer water, as they will finally feel comfortable ordering something off the menu.
Here’s a description of 9OH20 water from the company website: