Meet Elisabeth Muhr
Originally posted in the "The Dura Society: "Introducing Elisabeth Muhr, Managing Partner and Co-Founder at Alpine Water GmbH, Hallstein". Published on the 24th of November, 2022.
Meet Elisabeth Muhr, Managing Partner and Co-Founder at Alpine Water GmbH, Hallstein.
Hallstein is a family owned and run business flowing with ideas for improving the way we consume water. Elisabeth is a passionate advocate for global drinking water improvement and an acknowledged expert in hydrobiology. Graduating from Vienna’s University of Environmental Engineering in Environmental Engineering and Ecology, Elisabeth understands and shares the importance of hydration, Ph, and mineral content in drinking water, and the difference between “natural” water versus “engineered” water.
“The water we consume has a profound impact on our immune system, our performance, our wellbeing and all over health.”
Join us as Elisabeth shares her experience and passion for improving immunity and reducing inflammation using water, along with her definition of wealth, what she wished she knew about finance, and where her first investment is now.
I am from Innsbruck Austria and studied Ecology and Environmental Engineering at the University of Vienna. My dream job was working for the Tyrolian Government to evaluate the ecological impacts of hydro-power plants in the Alps. But I also decided to teach for 2 years “Ecology applied to Urban Planning” at the California State Polytechnic University at Pomona and stayed in the US thereafter.
I am married with 3 children and live in New York now. My husband and I decided to reduce inflammation in our bodies while cutting out sugars and carbohydrates in 1999, which led us and including our children, on the journey to found Hallstein Water. Hallstein is now poured mainly in the EU, Britain, Switzerland and the United States.
We are very careful about our product because it’s so rare: we only harvest what Mother Nature gives us and can eventually only serve about 12.000 customers. My oldest son is the CEO of the firm and my 2 other children worked in sales and marketing full time until recently.
What were the main steps to setting up Hallstein?
Decided as a family to drink the best water to avoid inflammation by drinking carbonated, sugary drinks…could not find water which suited our demands….tested all available waters; defined the “Hallstein Octagon”, as series of attributes which the ultimate healthy water should have….hired a hydro-geologist who defined the geological structure of such water….hired geology departments to scour their maps to find that very geological make up….they all found independently that the only area on the globe was around the Dachstein glacier….we drilled and found an appropriate aquifer….57 permits later we were able to commercially sell the water and build a filling plant.
What is your role at Hallstein?
I am there to make new contacts with restaurants and spas, health clubs, etc; I am the spokeswoman for interviews in publications, internet, panels, podcasts, TV; but my real goal is to have people ask questions about the REAL quality of their drinking water and not be victims to marketing shams.
Did you have any doubts before you started, if so how did you overcome them?
Believe it or not, there were no doubts…we were on task and just got deeper and deeper into the subject and didn’t want to give up. Our journey was in several steps: first we were out to find the best water to drink, then we defined the ultimate water standard working with doctors and nutritionists and compared the available waters to it, which gave us absolutely shocking results. Therefore, on our road to success, meaning to find that perfect water, we decided to see if we could find our own well. The only doubts we had was if we could really find THE BEST. In principal, doubts or setbacks are situations which one has to overcome to succeed; there is always a solution and one can just never give up.
How did you attract your first customers?
By word of mouth, friends of friends, water aficionados.
What do you wish you had known before you started?
I never thought how many people doubt their information and/or choices but are not willing to explore something better and change.
Can you tell us about the geographic specifications which creates this water?
It’s actually the geological make-up which makes the quality of the water which runs through or over rocks, stone or sediments: granite or lava will produce acidic water, limestone eg will produce alkaline water.
Most water producers do not care about their geological make up; they know that they can and are allowed to treat and alter the water in many ways to fit their needs: the pH (acidity or alkalinity) by adding Sodium, which then makes acidic water alkaline, but will, disregarded by the consumer, contain a high amount of harmful Sodium, or by boiling, filtering, pumping, UV-treating, adding chemicals, etc.
The second geological factor is the existence of a glacial moraine. The ice of glaciers move slowly and while doing so, the rock underneath is being ground into finer, smaller, tightly compacted “natural concrete”. This layer, when a glacier after the ice ages retreated, acts as a lid. It protects the aquifer (water flows underneath the surface, often very deep…in Hallstein’s case 215 meters) from any environmental pollution and puts the water, because it cannot escape upwards, under pressure like in a coffee press. If you drill through the moraine, the” lid”, water from the aquifer shoots out and we call this an artesian well. Water comes out on its own pressure, no pumping needed.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing the water industry?
The water industry does not face actual challenges, apart from questions about their real quality and their packaging in plastic bottles or plastic/aluminum lined cardboard containers.
Our challenges are to explain to people that:
1. The marketing is usually false
2. The quality statements on the bottles are incomplete and hide things
3. The laws governing water quality are everywhere around the globe from the early 80s and do not reflect all science which substances in water are harmful
4. Good taste does not translate to being healthy and without toxins
5. Water filters make the water taste better but do not filter out the real toxins, like heavy metals or PFAS
6. We created the first scientific water standard
What are your 5 go-to tips for health optimisation?
1. Get better educated in harmful substances, where are they and how to avoid them
2. Exercise in moderation
3. Sleep and rest periods
4. Try to find vegetables and fruit which are not watered with processed/chemically treated water
5. Hydrate and cleanse from the inside with the best drinking water; you can survive a long time without food but not without water; it’s the most important substance for all humans
Describe your relationship with money and personal finance in three words?
Necessary, can be a wrath, cash is king.
How do you define wealth?
It may sound common, but wealth in the end is really not about financial prowess.
Wealth is sharing your life, ideas, dreams with other people and they do with you and you can learn and expand your mind; wealth is being on life’s journey with someone else, a partner, who holds your hand and you hold his or hers; wealth is being able to take some time and realize how lucky one actually is to be alive, to be healthy and to laugh.
What is the best financial decision you have ever made?
I inherited some money from my grandfather and invested it in my stay in California. I was employed but the money would have not gotten me far, so with the extra money I was able to explore the Western United States and lay a base for my love of my now adopted home country.
What did you learn about finance and money when you were growing up?
I really didn’t. Only later, when I was on my own did I learn to budget.
What is the best piece of financial advice you've ever received?
Don’t spend what you don’t have in the bank and save some money for unexpected expenses.
If you could give your younger self one piece of financial advice, what would it be?
Don’t spend what you don’t have in the bank and save some money for unexpected expenses.
Who manages the finances in your household?
My husband the larger investments and expenses, I the smaller day-to-day expenses.
What was your first investment, and where is it now?
I invested in a gold mine in South Africa…..I still own the shares but I have no idea if the company is still there.
What tools do you use to manage your personal finances?
My husband works at an investment bank and therefore I am unable to buy shares, which seems unfair. Therefore I invested in real estate and treasury bonds which I can do over my bank account.
What is your most valuable possession?
My wedding band, apart from my real estate investments.
Which area of finance do you wish you knew more about?
Shares and crypto currencies, although they may not be so attractive in the future any more.
Do you have a mentor or inspirational figure that has guided or influenced you?
As I am older, I have had several people who influenced me during the different phases of my life. I think the most lasting mentor and inspirational figure though, was my father. He taught me values, work ethic, never to give up and enjoy the simple things in life and once in a while a total splurge.
What are your go-to ‘health hacks’?
Each year I go through a complete detox and reset regimen at a medical spa. It gives me also time to reflect and regroup. I guess it’s a spa for the body and for the mind, which has enormous impact on your overall health too.
What’s next for you?
I really enjoy what I do and want to keep on doing it for the next couple of years. Thereafter I think I’ll “retire”….but that for me will be maybe moving for some time to Rome or Florence to better speak Italian. One really has to keep that open mind and learn continuously.
What are you currently reading and listening to?
I am a news-junkie, so I read several newspaper articles from all over the world each day. It gives you also different takes of the same thing and shows that the report of news is not stating facts, but all reporters give more of their own opinion.
Top 5 Instagram accounts to follow?
To me, Instagram is still a great tool to follow my friends who live around the world and stay in touch with them. Those accounts would not be interesting to you.
Thank you Elisabeth x