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Crystal Geyser: No plans to leave Calistoga bottling plant

  • The Crystal Geyser facility in Calistoga. (PD File, 2009)

Crystal Geyser Water Co. has no immediate plans to abandon its 36-year-old plant in Calistoga, despite its purchase of a water bottling plant in Siskiyou County.

“Right now this does not portend anything for the Calistoga plant,” said Richard Weklych, vice president of manufacturing for the company. “This is just an expansion of our capacity to meet growing customer demand.”

On Wednesday, the Calistoga company announced a deal to buy and renovate a 145,000-square-foot bottling facility in the town of Mount Shasta, located near the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The new plant, located on a 266-acre site in Mount Shasta, was selected for its pristine water source and the ability to expand production as sales grow, Weklych said.

Weklych did not rule out moving from Calistoga eventually, but said such talk is “premature.”

“We're going to be a year in construction” at the new plant, he said, and any long-term plans for Calistoga will have to wait until that is finished.

There has been talk for years that Crystal Geyser would leave Calistoga, as the Calistoga Beverage Company, maker of Calistoga Mineral Water, did in 2008, taking with it 74 jobs. In 2009, Crystal Geyser said it had “outgrown” the old plant and acknowledged that it was actively seeking property elsewhere in Northern California with an eye toward moving operations, and up to 60 jobs, to a more strategic location.

“It would be unfortunate if they were to leave town,” Mayor Chris Canning said Wednesday after discussing the Mount Shasta purchase with the company. The jobs and tax revenue the company generates “provide a local base to business.”

Canning, who was the manager of the Calistoga Mineral Water plant when it laid off most of its staff, said major manufacturing operations are difficult in Calistoga because the town is not near any major highways, labor is limited and expensive, and land values are steep.

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