Mountain Valley water originates at a protected spring just west of Highway 7 North, approximately twelve miles from downtown Hot Springs. In 1871, pharmacist Peter E. Greene and his brother, John Greene, were the first to sell Mountain Valley Spring Water, which was then known in the Hot Springs area as “Lockett’s Spring Water” because of its association with Benjamin Lockett and his son, Enoch. The brothers renamed the water Mountain Valley after a small community nearby. In 1883, the Mountain Valley Water Company was officially formed, with Zeb Ward, G. G. Latta, Samuel Fordyce, and Samuel Stitt House as principal investors and company officers with Peter Greene remaining as local manager.
Ownership of the spring was transferred in 1902, when August Schlafly of St. Louis Missouri, already a major stockholder in the company, and his family became sole owners. By 1908, franchise offices had followed in Chicago, Illinois, and New York City. An apocryphal tale holds that two strangers, traveling home to New York from Hot Springs by train, were in the dining car, and each produced a bottle of Mountain Valley for his respective table. This coincidence led to much conversation and then an agreement to form a fifty-fifty partnership for a Mountain Valley Water Company franchise in New York. Upon exchanging business cards, media mogul William Randolph Hearst discovered that his new partner was the well-known gambler Richard Canfield, a man against whom his newspapers were conducting a fierce campaign.
By the 1920s, Mountain Valley Water was being served in the United States Senate, and in 1928, distribution began in California, making Mountain Valley the first bottled water to be available coast to coast. In 1924, Schlafly purchased the DeSoto Springs Mineral Water Company, located at 150 Central Avenue in Hot Springs. The two-story, Classical Revival brick building was built specifically to house a mineral water depot. A third level was added in 1921 to house a Japanese-themed dance hall, with accommodation for a live band. The building remained the DeSoto Spring Water Depot and DeSoto Dance Hall until 1936, when Mountain Valley Water Company made the building its national headquarters and visitor center.
In 1966, the Schlaflys sold the company to a group of distributors under the leadership of John G. Scott. The company’s headquarters were moved to Paramus, New Jersey, and the historic Mountain Valley building was closed. In April 1987, Sammons Enterprises of Dallas, Texas, purchased the company and returned administrative operations to Hot Springs. Sammons sold the company in April 2004 to the current private ownership.
New York based CO OP Brand Co, illustrator Two Arms Inc, and Colorado based Land Design collaborated to create the new image and branding for the company in 2016