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Recreating the Water Bottle

A North County company reinvents a classic


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A water bottle can be a thirst quencher, a lifesaver, and a total nuisance to carry. Narrow openings make it difficult to clean, and bulky size takes up valuable space when you’re on the go. That was the dilemma for Leucadia-based Gretchen Bleiler, an Olympic snowboarder and environmental activist, and her husband, former professional snowboarder Chris Hotell. Their solution? The ALEX bottle (short for “Always Live Extraordinarily”), the first stainless steel option that screws from the middle.

Created with BPA-free aluminum and a strap made from recycled plastic bottles, ALEX comes in mix-and-match hues and an FDA-approved silicone sleeve to prevent dents. When empty, it compacts to half its size. “I always put off cleaning my bottles because it was such a pain, and they never seemed to even get clean,” Hotell says. “Our goal was to make something that solved this problem but was also beautiful.” After tinkering with different versions, they launched a Kickstarter campaign last year. And what began as a $50,000 request turned into a whopping $184,000 in funding. Now the company has thousands of preorders and a steady stream of sales. But their customers aren’t sticking to just H2O; the 26-ounce bottles can also store smoothies, hold beer bottles, and even shake up cocktails, so you can hike, drink, and be merry. ($26)

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