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History of Distillata & Bottled Water in Cleveland

Distillata: Cleveland’s Family-Owned Water Provider Since 1897

As a local, family-owned company with over 125 years of experience, Distillata understands the unique needs of the state of Ohio residents. We’re not just another water delivery service; we’re your neighbors, committed to providing exceptional customer service and top-quality water solutions.  It get better. We aren’t just in Ohio, our bottled water is from Ohio. Our story began in 1897 when German immigrant Peter Diemer launched the Distillata distilled water division alongside his existing ice business, City Ice & Fuel. Back then, most residents lacked access to clean drinking water, and Distillata’s 5-gallon glass bottles paired perfectly with City Ice deliveries. Step back in time with some of our historical pictures in this video!

A Legacy of Innovation

In 1929, Distillata separated from City Ice, forging its own path. In the 1950’s we were under the leadership of our grandfather and visionary pharmacist George Miller. He championed the use of distilled water and even explored ways to purify Lake Erie. Recognizing the growing demand for healthier options, Bill Schroeder (Miller’s son-in-law) phased out soda pop production and focused solely on bottled water delivery in the 1970s.

the Distillata company vintage sign

Family at the Helm: A Family Owned Bottled Water Company

Distillata takes pride in being a family-owned business. Bill Schroeder’s sons, Keith and Kevin, joined the company in the 1980s, further shaping Distillata’s success. Keith pioneered renting water coolers for homes, while Kevin expanded our reach beyond Northeast Ohio. Today, the fourth generation, represented by Adam Schroeder, carries the torch forward, leading the water filtration division.

Evolution Through the Years: Distillata Acquisitions

Distillata has adapted to changing times. We’ve expanded our product offerings to include spring water, reverse osmosis water, and water filtration systems. Acquisitions like Minnehaha Water (1998) and Chestnut Hills Water (2007) solidified our position as Cleveland’s premier water company. In 2000, we added Mountain Valley Spring Water to our product line, demonstrating our commitment to diverse customer needs.

A Committed Team: Distillata Employees

We are more than just a water company; it’s a family. Meet the dedicated individuals who carry on our legacy. From our experienced delivery drivers to our customer service specialists, each member of our team is passionate about exceeding client expectations. We are beyond blessed to have so many dedicated individuals who have made a career with us for over a quarter century!

  • Chris C., Plant Manager, 26 years 
  • Rob M., Operations Manager, 30 years
  • Mark F., Delivery Driver; Union Representative, 31 years
  • Jim C., Carry Out / Delivery Driver, 35 years
  • Bridget K., Customer Service Manager, 26 years
  • April S., Digital Marketing Manager, 26 years.
  • Danny B., Diesel Mechanic, 27 years.

And the list goes on! Meet more of our 25+ year club members here.

close up of the logo on a Distillata vintage wooden

A Committed Partner: A Century in Cleveland, Oh.

Distillata is deeply rooted in the Cleveland community. We’ve weathered economic downturns and global events, including the Great Depression, two world wars, the 2008 financial crisis, and COVID-19 pandemic. All the while ensuring uninterrupted water delivery to our customers. We actively participate in local events and support organizations like The Fest, Ohio Boys Town, and Cleveland APL. Here’s a glimpse into our historical milestones:

  • 1897: Distillata launches alongside City Ice & Fuel.
  • 1929: Distillata separates from City Ice.
  • 1950s: George Miller champions distilled water and explores Lake Erie purification.
  • 1970s: Bill Schroeder focuses solely on bottled water and phases out soda pop production.
  • 1980s: Keith Schroeder pioneers water cooler rentals, and Kevin Schroeder expands sales beyond Northeast Ohio.
  • 1998: Distillata acquires Minnehaha Water.
  • 2000: Purchased the Mountain Valley Spring Water local distribution rights from Health Waters.
  • 2006: Distillata partners with Keurig® for office coffee solutions.
  • 2007: Distillata acquires Chestnut Hills Water.
  • 2008: Distillata establishes a water filtration division.
  • 2014: Adam Schroeder joins the company as Sales Manager.
  • 2018: Distillata gains distribution rights for Deer Park and Nestle Pure Life water.
  • 2022: Distillata celebrates 125 years at its original location and is recognized by the Western Reserve Historical Society as a 100-Year Club member.
distillata water delivery driver carrying bottle on shoulder

Looking Forward: Building a Sustainable Future in Northeast Ohio

We are constantly looking ahead, not just in terms of innovation but also in terms of our impact on the environment and the communities we serve. Here are some exciting projects on the horizon:

  • Automating our bottling lines is a key step towards a more sustainable future. This will streamline our operations, improve quality, reduce energy consumption, and minimize waste.
  • We are placing a strong focus on eco-friendly initiatives by exploring ways to decrease landfill contributions. We are exploring more ways to incorporate reusable packaging and collaborating with suppliers who prioritize sustainable practices.
  • Our commitment to community involvement remains unwavering. We will expand our partnerships with local charities and organizations working on economic development, human rights, and environmental causes.

By embracing these projects, we believe we can build a stronger, more sustainable future for Cleveland and Akron. Our story is one of innovation, hard work, family values, and a deep commitment to providing Ohio with the healthiest drinking water. We look forward to serving our community for generations to come. We offer a variety of options to suit your preferences, from refreshing spring water and reverse osmosis varieties to reliable water filtration systems and Mountain Valley Spring Water in glass bottles.  Plus, with our commitment to local sourcing and our knowledgeable team, you can trust Distillata to deliver pure, healthy hydration directly to your doorstep or office.

Watch this video to learn more about Distillata and the history of bottled water in Cleveland, Oh.

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