Interview with Michelberger’s Fountain of youth.
Q: From hospitality (Michelberger’s Hotel), through event management (Michelberger’s Music Festival “People”), to coconut water (Michelberger’s Fountain of Youth) – the portfolio is so diverse, yet it all makes perfect sense – how did it all begin?
A: It’s always been about doing what feels right! We started the hotel because we wanted to create a space for ourselves and for our friends – somewhere to come together. Over the years the business has evolved, and us along with it. The various things which have emerged alongside, such as the music happenings, the coconut water, our Michelberger Spirits – didn’t arise out of a strategical tactic. Rather from a reactive and at the same time proactive attitude – we react to what we observe and love and sometimes things spark.
Q: Diving deeper into the famous coconut water with the monkey on it: why did you decide on coconut water specifically and not another type of soft drink?
A: Our Fountain of Youth is inspired by a holiday and the result of many days searching and tasting and learning. And we love coconut water ourselves, for the taste and the health benefits. We like to think of it as our hotel in a drink – travelling the world, sharing the joy.
Q: What makes it taste so damn good, superior to many other options on the market?
A: In a way, coconuts are like apples or grapes grown for wine – some are more sour, some more sweet. While most coconuts are a light ripe green or yellow colour, the taste inside can vary widely depending on the size of the palm trees, and the water and amount of sunlight which feeds them. The coconuts in our Fountain of Youth come from a farmer’s collective in Southwest Thailand. While some species of palm tree are tall and thin, our coconut trees are short and wide, which results in a natural sweetness.
Q: There are many packaging options for a drink. We all know the damage made through the use of plastic, and some people are concerned about the cans that you are using. However, your cans are actually environmentally friendly. Could you please expand on that?
A: When we first started out, we looked at every option out there and tried glass bottles too. We’re aware that cans have a bit of an image problem, so to speak, in Germany, but in the end they were clearly the right option to go for. The first reason is that in Germany (our biggest market) cans have the highest recycling rate of any material, including glass. We work with Grüner Punkt to recycle the cans. Every can which is consumed in Germany and put into the recycling bin, is then sorted at the waste management centre and recycled. The cans (which are tinplate, not aluminium), are magnetic and so can be filtered out from the plastics and other materials.
The second reason we decided to put the Fountain of Youth in a can is that is keeps the coconut water fresh, being both air and light-tight.
Q: What values and culture do you embrace as a part of the overall Michelberger’s enterprise?
A: The Michelberger is a continually evolving modern family business, a collective experiment! As a hotel, it is the sum of it’s parts and a place from where things can happen. Most of the time it’s our guests occupying our spaces, having good times with friends, falling in love, writing a book, thinking about the future or the past, working on something together or just falling in by chance. Other times ideas formulate and take shape from within us. Those internal and external projects go towards making the hotel what it is at any given moment. We dream of a world of opportunity and benefit for the many over the few.
We also see the impact that we, as a group of people working together, can have on many things, big and small. So this is reflected in the choices we make – from where we source our food, to which cleaning products we use to what our mattresses are made from. Being responsible and in charge of our lives seems a good way forward.