Proud Source Water isn’t just in the business of selling bottled water. Founded on the principles of doing good for others, Proud Source was built on family code. The brand journey began with a mission to create jobs in a small, mountain town in the Northern Rockies called Mackay, Idaho - population 514. (pronounced Mack-EE). Proud Source holds strong to traditional family values while offering an environmentally conscious alternative to plastic bottled water.
So, where is Mackay, anyway?
Mackay is a small town in south central Idaho, nestled among some of Idaho’s tallest peaks. Located just 100 miles southeast of Sun Valley, Idaho’s famous skiing destination, it was founded in 1901 by John W. Mackay, a mining engineer from Nevada who was part of the boom of miners who came to Idaho in droves in search of copper and other minerals.
Over the years, Mackay transitioned from a mining hotbed to a farming and ranching community. However, by the 1990s, the town fell on hard times as job opportunities diminished. As the national economy evolved, the small town of Mackay started to highlight a needed lift in foundational business in the community.
Co-founder Ryan Donahue was determined to find a way to boost local jobs and build back a foundation for his community.
The Proud Source Water Origin Story
Ryan, the son of a 6th generation Mackay family, wanted to give back to his community by instilling hope and creating local opportunity. He knew that the nearby spring was a local treasure to the Mackay community. Located in a historic region of the Rocky Mountains with a storied past of seismic volcanic activity, ancient layers of rock help provide natural filtration and rich minerals to the local water source.
The spring water in Mackay is revered by the local generations as the best tasting spring water known to man-kind. There’s an expression Mackay locals like to say, “once you’ve tasted the water in Mackay, you’ll never leave.” After several tests, they concluded the water had a natural pH of 8.5 +/- , making it a rare, natural alkaline water source.
Ryan wondered how he could create jobs and revitalize the local economy by sharing this “liquid gold” with the world. He called upon his family and close friends to help him start a business, and together, they built a best in class bottling facility at the base of the spring, located deep within the granite crust of Mt. McCaleb.
Proud was founded on good intentions, in addition to existing within the natural beauty of our world. They knew they had to make responsible choices in packaging for future generations. After much research, Aluminum presented itself as the best option. It is recycled in every state, and is infinitely recyclable (it will never lose its material strength upon recycling over and over). In fact, 75% of all aluminum ever produced is still in use. All the pieces of Proud Source Water came together.
Our Current Source of Pride
Proud Source Water was officially founded in 2017, and since then, we haven’t looked back. Since launching, over 34 jobs have been created, helping to boost the local economy and give back to the community. Additionally, over $50,000 has been given to local infrastructure, helping Proud Source Water become the second largest employer in the valley.
With partnerships over the years such as, 1% for the Planet, 5 Gyres, Surfrider Foundation and Save the Bay, we have been able to give back to communities focused on our environment and help with their coastal efforts to clean our oceans and waterways.
In our efforts to focus on conservation and local impact, we’ve pledged to never take more than 5% of the spring’s output. We also use a gravity-fed water delivery system and radiant floor heating in our bottling facility to reduce energy consumption. We believe that not only is the source of our water important, but so is the environmental impact we leave behind.
Our mission is to be the most transparent bottled water company in the world. (Did our mission slightly change) By focusing on our protected source, sustainability efforts, and impact on local communities, we hope that you get a little taste of our source of pride whenever you drink Proud Source Water.