- Associated Press - Sunday, February 26, 2017

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) - The small Ohio community of Montpelier has won the top prize for U.S. tap water at an international tasting contest.

Ohio towns took two of the top three prizes for Best Municipal Water on Saturday at the 27th annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting in West Virginia. Emporia, Kansas, took second place, and Hamilton, Ohio finished third.

The judges awarded co-champions for top bottled water to Zaros Natural Water from the Greek island of Crete and an AlphaPure Springs Water of Ocala, Florida. There also was a tie for runner-up between Artesia of Crystal Falls, Michigan, and Canadian Gold Artesian Water of Marchand, Manitoba.

The sparking water entry also had co-champions: Last year’s winner, Tesanjski Kiseljak of Tesanj, Bosnia, tied with 2016’s silver medalist Touch Sparkling Mineral Water of Marchand, Manitoba.

GP8 Oxygen Water of Toronto, Ontario, was voted best purified drinking water.

The people’s choice winner for packaging went to Svalbaroi Polar Iceberg Water of Longyearbyen, Norway.

Eleven judges tasted and selected from among dozens of waters from 18 states, seven Canadian provinces and five foreign nations. Two countries, Costa Rica and Fiji, were new to the event this year. Judges based their rankings on taste, odor, mouth feel and aftertaste.

The event was held in an Eastern Panhandle town also known for its water. Natural warm springs produce water at 74.3 degrees, once attracting American Indians, settlers and George Washington.

Washington, who first arrived in 1748, helped build Berkeley Spring’s reputation as a getaway for the health-conscious. A stone bathtub serves as a monument to his visits.

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