Rainwater Collection Since 1994
2770 Highway 290 West Dripping Springs, TX 78620
30 Dec 2016

Saveur

Rain, Rain, Come My Way
Saveur – April 2004
By: Margo True

In the lush, green country outside Dripping Springs, near Austin in central Texas, lives a man who loves to catch rainwater. Six years ago, Richard Heinichen, a metal sculptor, and his wife, writer Suzy Banks, fed up with drinking from their well – which yielded, as Heinichen puts it, “rock-hard sulfur water which turned our hair into fright wigs and our blue jeans into cardboard” – decided to harvest the sky. Heinichen perfected a tank-and-pump-and-filter system and now drinks water that, as he proudly points out, “has never hit the ground” – and that exceeds the EPA’s water-purity standard. He uses the water for everything and says his clothes are now softer, his faucets and toilets are sparkling, even the vegetables in the garden taste better. Heinichen has also become the self-proclaimed mayor of Tank Town, a business that sells collecting tanks and just about everything else any enterprising person needs for gathering H2O (assuming he or she lives in a farily nonpolluted area with decent rainfall): PVC pipes, gutters, pumps, roof washers, filters, and a funny, down-to-the-last-detail book by Heinichen and Banks (with companion video) called Rainwater Collection for the Mechanically Challenged. Heinichen recently started bottling his rainwater, too – and you know, it really does taste good. (For information on becoming a citizen of Tank Town – i.e., a tank owner – and finding Tank Town bottled rainwater and the how-to book and video, see THE PANTRY, page 98.)

30 Dec 2016

My Business

Rain Man
My Business – January 2004
By: Shannon Scully

Talking to Richard Heinichen makes you thirsty. The self-proclaimed mayor of Tank Town (www.rainwatercollection.com) is a man-made drinking water expert. Unable to tolerate the sulfur-smelling well water he found when he moved to the Texas Hill Country 13 years ago, Heinichen started collecting rainwater for use at home. After noticing the fiberglass tank he used to collect the rain, a neighbor asked him to help him install a similar system.

That was the first drop in the bucket of a business whose profits have poured in ever since. “Rainwater is the sweetest, most natural water on earth,” says Heinichen, who holds the first permit for bottling rainwater ever issued in the United States. “It has never touched the ground, and it’s softness can’t be reproduced.”

For the agua-challenged people who don’t want to install their own collection systems, Heinichen also sells bottled rainwater. “When I first got into the business, I was dealing with serious wackos, people who had conspiracy theories about public water supplies,” says Heinichen. “But now I’m dealing with well-educated people who understand the health benefits.”

To skeptics who wonder about the cleanliness of rainwater, Heinichen assures customers that the reverse osmosis method he uses rids the water of any inpurities. Take a sip for yourself, he says.

30 Dec 2016

American Way

Bottled Rain
American Way – May 2003
By: Richard A. Marini

Think far outside the box and put your energy into something you believe in. You might call it Entrepreneur 101.

The arid hills west of Austin, Texas, might seem an unlikely place to start a rainwater bottling company. But entreprenuers often take root in inhospitable soil, and this is where Richard Heinichen started bottling his “fresh-squeezed cloud juice,” which he named, simply, Rainwater.

He did other things right, too, acording to Larry W. Cox, director of research at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which promotes entreprenuership.

RECOGNIZE WHERE OPPORTUNITIES EXIST
In retrospect, bottling rainwater makes perfect sense, especially in central Texas where many homeowners depend of wells for drinking water. “Around here, well water tastes like sulfur. A lot of people turn to rainwater,” says Heinichen. “It’s clean, odorless, and tasteless.”

But the idea of rainwater didn’t occur to Heinichen until one scorching day when he drank up his supply while on a job. Rather than buy regular bottled water, he drove an hour home to refill from his own cictern. “That’s when I knew that if I could get people to try it, there’d be demand for bottled rainwater.”

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND YOUR IDEA
Because he’s such an evangelist for bottled rainwater, Heinichen says he’s the best person to sell it – even though he concedes that he’s not the word’s greatest salesperson (I’m an artist,” he explains. “I don’t like rejection.”)

Heinichen doesn’t advertise. He relies on word of mouth. Visitors can’t leave his office without carrying home a free sample. Also, he started small, convincing friends who run the Austin Zoo and a nearby barbecue joint to carry his water. As word spread, two local supermarket chains picked it up. Drinking bottled rainwater apparently appealed to Austin’s progressive mentality.

“Now stores are calling and asking to sell it,” says Heinichen. “I’ve even got several distributers who carry it in their lines.”

KNOW WHEN TO RELY ON OTHERS AND WHEN TO EXPAND
Although Heinichen knows enough about home rainwater systems to have produced a book and video, when the time came to build a commercial bottling operation, he hired one of the country’s leading environmental engineering and consulting firms. What’s ironic, he says, is that the firm didn’t make any changes on the prefiltration side of the process.

“Rainwater is cleaner than springwater,” he explains. “So they only had to do some work on the bottling side. But having their name attached to the project helped us get the approval we needed from state and federal angecies.”

Heinichen hopes to eventually franchise the rainwater-bottling concept, which he says can be financially viable in any area that gets at least 32 inches of rainfall annually.

30 Dec 2016

Breathe

Rain Man
Breathe – September/October, 2005
By: Jennifer Acosta

When threatening clouds gather over the rolling fields of Richard Heinichen’s Texas Hill Country farm, the 57-year-old smiles–and with good reason. As the self-proclaimed mayor of “Tank Town,” a collection of 10,000-gallon Easter-egg-colored vessels on the west side of the farm, it’s Heinichen’s job to catch the water that falls from the sky, which he then bottles and sells nationwide.

Heinichen got the idea for his product, dubbed Rain Water, in 1992, after being disappointed by the taste and mineral content of water from a well he’d drilled. Developing his own rainwater collection system, he gathered “cloud juice” that was soft and sweet-smelling. Today, he produces about 5,000 bottles a week.

Unlike his competitors, Heinichen forgoes chlorine and other chemicals during his water-purification process. Filters remove pollen, dust, and other particles, while UV lights and reverse-osmosis membranes take care of bacteria. The resulting product, he says, is purer that the big-name brands, which often fail to completely remove harmful substances. “Herbicides and heavy metals–people don’t know they’re drinking those.”

Rain Water has become popular and fashionable in Heinichen’s home state–guests at the funky Hotel San Jose in Austin find it in their rooms. And soon the whole country may get a taste; Heinichen is in negotiations with a major department store to provide bottled water for its locations nationwide (order your own at rainwater.org).

The biggest challenge has been convincing people that water from the sky can be a clean, safe beverage. “They still think it’s dirty,” Heinichen complains. “But it falls through the air they’re breathing every second of the day.” The Texas entrepreneur, however, is game to address this misconception: “I’ll take that on next,” he says, smiling. “I’ll give people cleaner air.”

30 Dec 2016

Austin-American Statesman

When It Rains, He Stores
Austin-American Statesman – July 2002
By: Denise Gamino

Who among us has not stood in a soft rain shower with mouth wide open to try to catch some liquid sky?

There’s just something primeval about free-falling rainwater that makes us tilt our earthboud heads and await the nectar of clouds. But, unless you’re a big mouth, drinking rainwater in real time means getting more rain on you than in you.

Not anymore: When the sky melts, Richard Heinichen is there to catch it.

Heinichen is believed to be the only person in the United States bottling rainwater for commercial sale.

And is’t Austin-area rainwater. Or, as Heinichen calls it on his labels: “Fresh-squeezed Cloud Juice. Made between Heaven and Earth over Dripping Springs, Texas.”

Heinichen (whose name is pronounced like beer, not water) is the uncrowned Purveyor of Precipitation. His is a puddle-wonderful world where every drop of rain is captured before it hits the ground and is then used for washing clothes, cooking, bathing, gardening, and of course, drinking.

Well…not every drop of rain. Heinichen has so much rainwater saved to bottle that he had to watch more than 250,000 gallons wash across the highway in front of his bottling plant during the recent floods, according to a formula that uses collection surface and inches of rain to calculate gallons.

His fiberglass storage tanks are full of last year’s rain. He has 200,000 gallons of stored rainwater just ready to turn into bottled water, which he began selling 10 months ago.

“I can bottle for a year and two months without any rain,” he said. “So, I don’t even need (the recent) rain.”

Heinichen hoards his rainwater in plain view. If you are driving on U.S. 290, look for the field of pastel water tanks three miles west of Dripping Springs. Some of the tanks are 15 feet high and hold 17,000 gallons. His property, which he calls “Tank Town,” looks like a cylindrical Stonehenge splashed in Easter egg colors. Near the tanks are six arched tin roofs with 20,000 square feet of surface to capture rain. A field of lavendar and rosemary perfumes the air.

“I want to celebrate this stuff,” he said.

All visitors to the whimsical “Tank Town” recieve a free sample of government-approved bottled rainwater.

Twist open a bottle of the straightforwardly named Rain Water. Take a sip, and the first thing you’ll notice is…nothing. There’s a complete absence of taste. Pure rainwater is odorless, colorless and tasteless.

The tactile response is the kicker. Rain Water feels like what dew looks like. It is so soft and weightless the cloud it came from must have had a satin lining.

Bottles of Rain Water are showing up at a few cafes on South Congress Avenue and soon will be sold at the Central Market Cafe on North Lamar Boulevard. The cafe at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center sells is, and Gov. Rick Perry and his family get regular deliveries from Tank Town. And the water is so popular at the Salt Lick that some customers won’t drink anything but the 16-ounce bottles that sell for $1. The water often sells out.

“Last week, these two ladies came in and asked if we had Rain Water and they freaked out just because we didn’t have any,” said Holly Bennight, assistant manager.

Water snobbery is commonplace in the growing world of rainwater collection. Hundreds of homeowners in the Hill Country, where well water can be corrosive and unavailable during droughts, have converted to whole-house rainwater systems for everything from showers to drinking water.

Rainwater transformed Heinichen from a metal sculptor who created the giant “fork in the road” in front of Hyde Park Bar & Grille in Austin to a quiet rainwater evangelist living life by the drop.

Heinichen and his wife, Suzy Banks, a freelance writer for Texas Monthly and other publications, drilled a well for their home near Dripping Springs in early 1994. The water was so hard it turned freshly laundered clothes into stiff boards, turned their hair into Brillo pads and corroded pipes. They converted the house to a rainwater system; they converted themselves into rain collection experts.

By the end of that year, Heinichen was selling fiberglass rainwater tanks and the odd hamlet called Tank Town was born. Ninety-nine percent of Heinichen’s business is selling and installing rainwater collection systems.

The idea for selling bottled water came on a hot summer day in 1998 when Heinichen got thirsty while installing a residential rainwater system for a customer. He reached for a bottle filled with rainwater from his kitchen tap at home, but it was empty.

“I refused to go buy water in a store,” he said, “because it just didn’t taste as good.”

Instead of going to nearby stores and paying 69 cents for a bottle of water, Heinichen drove 20 miles back to his house to wet his whistle. On the way, he had a pipe dream: Why not bottle rainwater commercially so others could share something so sublime it inspired a parched man to take a 40-mile detour?

“There is no water that can touch it,” he said. “It’s the gold standard of water. I put a spigot on a cloud instead of a pump in the ground.”

It took four years of tinkering and government bureaucracy – water torture for Heinichen – before he won approval to sell rainwater. Texas health officials had never given permission for bottling and sales of rainwater.

“Rainwater is not a source for drinking water,” more than one official told him. “It’s not approved.”

“Well, what water have you been drinking?” Heinichen asked, pointing out that all fresh-water sources are fed by rain.

With the help of an engineer, Heinichen was certified by the Texas Department of Health as a bottled water plant operator. A permit from the Texas Natural Resource Conversation Commission was tougher to obtain because Heinichen refused to disinfect the rainwater with chlorine. Most public drinking water systems use trace amounts of chemical disinfectant, such as chlorine.

The TNRCC eventually approved Heinichen’s rainwater system because of his extra safeguards. Instead of chemicals, Heinichen uses several filtering processes and then subjects the rainwater to ultraviolet light and reverse osmosis to kill anhy remaining bacteria and contaminants. In addition, his system operates as a “closed loop” that guards against outside bacteria because the water is not exposed to air once it leaves the rooftop.

Heinichen is bottling 60 cases a day, but he has the capacity to quadruple his output. And, if consumer demand outpaces his two-room bottling plant, he is willing to expand.

“I could keep up with the big boys,” he said. “Easily, I’d love to be able to supply everybody with water the way it ought to taste.”

One raindrop at a time.

30 Dec 2016

Gourmet

The spirit of quirky Hill country enterprise is on display at nearby Tank Town, a skyline of catchment tanks in Necco Wafer hues. Here, Richard Heinichen harvests rainwater and filters it by reverse osmosis down to a ten-thousandth of a micron. Yes, it tastes good. “Made between Heaven and Earth over Dripping Springs, Texas,” brag the bottles, which are sold on-site and at assorted local businesses.

30 Dec 2016

Reader’s Digest

Pennies From Heaven
Readers Digest – April 2004

Money may not grow on trees, but for Richard Heinichen of Dripping Springs, Texas, it does fall from the sky. Using a half-acre collection system, he gathers rain water, filters it, bottles it – and sells it for a buck a pint. Heinichen (sounds like the beer), who claims he’s selling enough precipitation to break even, began saving the stuff after moving to Dripping Springs 14 years ago. “My well water was so hard it made my hair look like a fright wig, and it tasted like chalk,” he explains. But cloud juice is mineral-free. “It’s so refreshing,” he says, “It tastes like nothing.”

30 Dec 2016

New York Times

In Each Life, Some Rain Must Fall. Why Not Bottle It?
New York Times – January 8, 2004
By: Nora Krug

Dripping Springs, Texas

Ever tasted a raindrop and wondered, Why doesn’t someone bottle this stuff? Well, someone has and called it, aptly, Rain Water. Rain Water, the product, comes from Dripping Springs, where it is collected and bottled by Richard Heinichen, a 57-year-old former blacksmith. He fills about 1,500 bottles a day with the “cloud juice” that falls on Rain Water headquarters, wich he calls Tank Town. Mr. Heinichen (pronounced like the beer) said he sold about 170,000 16-ounce bottles last year – at about $1 each – and has more than a quarter-million gallons of water in storage.

Mr. Heinichen, who said he has invested nearly $500,000 in Rain Water and is just barely breaking even, began his quest nearly a decade ago as a way to quench his own thirst. Dissatisfied with the well water at his home, he built a small rain collector there. It worked so well that he began installing similar ones at other people’s homes, eventually establishing a business that helps finance the bottling of Rain Water.

One hot day, Mr. Heinichen was driving back from an installation job and found himself parched. He considered buying a bottle of spring water but thought better of it. (He so dislikes the taste of spring water that he relegates the water from a small spring at Tank Town to a duck pond.)

The “aha!” moment hit, “and right away I got so excited about it,” he said.

So why haven’t there been other “aha’s” – why has the $7 billion a year bottled-water industry drawn on sources as exotic as Fiji when rainwater is ubiquitous? For one thing, capturing and purifying large quantities of rain before it hits the ground is a considerable feat of engineering.

While rain has long been used as a water source in areas without a public water supply or where well water is unavailable or tainted, the amounts collected are usually small and rarely suitable for consumption without treatment. In addition to abosrbing pollutants from the air, once rainwater hits a surface like a roof, it collects contaminats that multiply when it is stored.

And the entire enterprise will work, of course, only if it actually rains. That is what makes Mr. Heinichen’s accomplishment even more surprising. Annual precipitation in Dripping Springs, despite its soggy name, averages only about 32 inches, nearly 17 inches less than in New York City.

But even that 32 inches, falling over a single acre, is enough to fill nearly seven million 16-ounce bottles of water a year, said Bill Lauer, an engineer with the American Water Works Association in Denver.

At Tank Town, Mr. Heinichen’s collection system starts with a little less than half an acre – 20,000 square feet – of parabolic metal roofs. After hitting the roofs, the rain flows into gutters, down pipes, through a preliminary filter, and into one of 13 tanks. It is filtered twice more and zapped with ultra-violet light before it is bottled.

The system is a bit Rube Goldberg. In fact, Tank Town itself looks a little like something out of a cartoon. One tank is painted to look like a turtle; others are pastel, suggesting bloated Easter eggs. A swimming pool is fashioned out of an old beer vat.

Mr. Heinichen has no formal scientific training. But he earned certificates in water-treatment-plant operation at Texas A&M and consulted an engineer while developing his plant.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality approved Rain Water for sale in 2001 after Mr. Heinichen installed a laser particle counter to check for impurities. A commission spokeswoman said the water is regularly inspected and no problems have been found.

Mr. Heinichen said he originally expected Rain Water to be an instant hit. But business began to trickle.

Jennifer Braafladt, bar manager at the Hotel San Jose in Austin, where a bottle of Rain Water is put in every room, said that guests often joke about whether the hotel collects the water from its own roof.

“Somehow I have to convince people that rainwater isn’t really dirty,” Mr. Heinichen said. To that end, he is trying to come up with a new label that no longer uses the image of a darkening cloud, wich some have told him looks like a smudge.

Mr. Heinichen has already turned Rain Water into something of a cult hit. The local Curves gym and a Whole Foods Market and several restaurants in Austin are among the places that sell it. Customers as far awas as New York and Oregon order it online at rainwatercollection.com

Unlike some other bottled waters, Rain Water contains no minerals, which some say add flavor.

“It has a nice, sweet taste,” said Lynn Helton, a customer in Dripping Springs.

Others are simply drawn by the gimmick. Peggy Smith, owner of the Curves gym, down the road from Tank Town, said she isn’t sure Rain Water tastes different from any other water, “but I keep thinking of the novel idea of cloud juice.”

30 Dec 2016

News 8 Austin

Tank Town brings in profit during drought
News 8 Austin – 7/22/2009
By: Russell Wilde and web staff

Currently, much of central Texas is experiencing an exceptional drought. Wells are running dry and many cities have water restrictions in place.

But one man from Dripping Springs, makes his living from the rain, and despite the drought, his business is booming.

Tank Town sits just west of the extremely dry Dripping Springs, Texas.

Tank Town is an oasis where cool, clear water continues to flow during one of the worst droughts in history.

Richard Heinichen is the Mayor of Tank Town and he is crazy about rainwater.

“It’s a source for all water, and all water, is rain water at one point,” Heinichen said.

The Mayor drinks the rainwater, bathes in it and also bottles it.

”Rainwater is naturally sweet; you cannot manufacture it with any kind of equipment, machinery, or nothing,” Heinichen said.

Tank Town can also connect homes to rainwater systems.

According to Heinichen, starting from scratch and equipping a home would cost about as much as it would to drill a new well.

“It’s more predictable, it’s more reliable, starting out and storing it is the key,” Heinichen said.

Storing rainwater takes a large enough tank to hold enough water for each individual household.

“That is 25 gallons per day per person [and] 1,000 sq.ft. of roof per person,” Mayor Heinichen said.

Tank Town has enough rainwater stored to continue bottling the water for months.

Once the tank is in place and full of water, he said someone could go more than 100 days without having rain and not run out.

When it does rain, even the slightest bit can go a long way.

“You get 550 gallons in a one inch of rain per 1,000 sq. ft.,” Heinichen said.

Tank Town has enough rainwater stored to continue bottling the water for months.

“The old saying that Noah didn’t build the ark when it was raining is still true,” Heinichen said.

The Mayor of Tank Town said he doesn’t need any rain, but he would welcome a good soaking.
“Right now I really want it for our creeks and streams the birds and all the deer,” Heinichen said.

He also wouldn’t mind topping off his tanks.

Heinichen said, since the drought began, Tank Town has seen a dramatic increase in demand for rainwater systems.

His bottled water is available at stores around Austin.

Facts about Richard’s Real Rainwater:

  • The first company licensed to bottle rainwater in America
  • The first company in the U.S. licensed to use rainwater as a sole source of water for a public water supply (# PWS 1050133).
  • Bottled at the source, the first closed-loop system using no chlorine or other chemical germicides for disinfection at any time during the process.
23 Oct 2015

Oak Hill Gazette

Richard Heinichen simply refused to settle for unacceptable well water. That determination lead to the birth of a full-scale rainwater collection and bottling facility in Dripping Springs – and earned him the honor of becoming the first (and only) company licensed to bottle rainwater in America.

Heinichen, the pioneer behind Richard’s Rainwater, founded Tank Town 20 years ago after collecting his own rainwater and receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from friends and neighbors. His branded, bottled rainwater has been around for almost six years.

“I didn’t mean for it to happen, but this turned into quite a business,” Heinichen said.

With 15 rainwater tanks and a storage capacity of 300,000 gallons of water, he’s not kidding. But surprisingly enough, droughts are a non-issue at Tank Town; Heinichen said they wouldn’t begin to feel the effects until after 200 consecutive days without rain.

“Noah didn’t build the Ark when it was raining,” he said. “We store water; it has no shelf life. It’ll last forever. If you store it properly you’ll never have a problem with it.”

Similar to cultivating a fine wine, he ages his water and employs a proprietary method before bottling.

“That’s what’s kinda neat,” Heinichen said. “When it rains, I don’t use that water for over a year.”

Heinichen was also the first company in the nation licensed to use rainwater as the sole source of water for a public water supply – but earning that distinction didn’t come easily. The Health Department informed Heinichen he was breaking the law by bottling rainwater because it wasn’t an approved water source.

“So I asked the City where their water came from, and they said they’re getting it from the Colorado River,” he said. “But where does that come from? Keep going back enough and all water is rainwater.”

It took Heinichen four years to get Richard’s Rainwater on the shelf. He hired engineers who created a pioneer bottling plant that went on to – perhaps ironically – receive an award from the Health Department.

“They approved me on the first go-round,” Heinichen said. “They said, ‘This is fantastic. We applaud you.'”

But Heinichen didn’t rest on his laurels for long. Running the plant meant going back to school, so he attended both The University of California, Berkeley and Texas A&M to become a certified public water operator.

“It’s been a long haul, but they can’t take it away now,” Heinichen laughed.

Since Tank Town is not located over a recharge zone and the water isn’t pulled from springs, Tank Town has zero impact on the environment. Richard’s Rainwater, nicknamed “Cloud Juice,” is bottled on-site to avoid the need for chlorination – a legal necessity for competitors like Ozarka in order for water to be transported before bottling. Ozarka’s springs dried up years ago so they now truck water in to be bottled, which means the water must be chlorinated, he said.

“People are paying a ridiculous price for a poor quality water,” he said.

While Heinichen was quick to praise any attempts to filter city water, he contends there’s still no comparison between Richard’s Rainwater and, for example, Brita-filtered water because there’s nothing in rainwater – and there never was. Yet as pure as his water is, Heinichen’s rainwater still undergoes reverse osmosis and UV filtering to kill any lingering bacteria.

“Whatever people are doing to make their water pure, that’s wonderful,” Heinichen said. He maintained that most city water supplies have chemical elements present that could prove harmful to people.

“It’s kinda like we’ve got our heads in the sand about water quality,” Heinichen said. “[Rainwater is] the only way you can really guarantee yourself some safe, pollution-free water that’s naturally soft. You can’t make it with any machines.”

Mentioning the Edwards Aquifer in San Antonio, he said he’s also worried about the quantity of city water left for future generations.

“There’s an interesting fact about water: it’s about 500 feet below your seat,” Heinichen said. “It takes 30 years for that water to get down there. We’re pumping that stuff out faster than the water can recharge.”

Heinichen said rainwater might also have health benefits. A Richard’s Rainwater devotee called him and explained that her baby had recurring rashes – until she began washing her baby in rainwater. Heinichen said he thinks this has something to do with rainwater being a universal solvent, which means it’s “the only water” that will completely remove the soap out of hair and clothes.

Heinichen said he also has three followers who claim their migraines return if they drink anything else. One man who dropped by Tank Town said he’s been using a rainwater collection system for years and would readily give up air conditioning before having to go without rainwater.

Heinichen offers a private labeling service at Tank Town for several clients, including Mercedes-Benz, Austin Java and Texas Pure Rain. He said most of his clients have been upfront about their water essentially being Richard’s Rainwater with a different label – with the exception of Pure Rain. Sold at Central Market, Whole Foods and several Walgreens locations, Pure Rain is competing directly against Richard’s Rainwater.

“It could be damaging to me if (Pure Rain) is sold cheaper than my water,” Heinichen said.

Pure Rain Managing Principal David Schraub said his goal with Pure Rain is to donate at least 50 percent of sales to their sister company, Natural Renewable Energy, in order to offset the cost of building solar energy collection racks. Schraub aims to position Texas as number one in both solar and wind energy.

“Yes, Texas has natural gas and oil,” Schraub said, “but we also need something that’s carbon and footprint-free. The public needs to do something, and not rely on the government to do something. Here’s a way to support it and do it.”

Since he’s busier than he’s ever been, Heinichen said he now wants to get out of private labeling so he can get back to focusing on Richard’s Rainwater and selling rainwater collection systems for home use.

“I’ve probably seen a 20 percent increase in my business every year for the past 20 years,” Heinichen said. “We’ve had hundreds – I think maybe 350 families and systems we support. Two years ago we were selling 200 cases (of Richard’s Rainwater) a month; now we’re selling 300 (cases) a week.”

Which is why Heinichen said he’s content to keep Richard’s Rainwater on the shelves of Wheatsville and off the shelves of Wal-Mart. He said he wants to keep the business small and personal.

“It’s peaceful out here,” Heinichen said, gesturing to the rainwater tanks from under the shade of a tree. “I don’t want trucks constantly coming in here and ruining it.”

Heinichen said word of mouth is really the best way to advertise, and referenced Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point to explain how he intends to reach people with Richard’s Rainwater.

“It’s all paid off, I’ve got people totally addicted,” Heinichen said. “That’s all I wanted to do, really, was to make sure people endorsed it and believed in it the way I do.”

Not that Heinichen is in it to reap financial rewards.

“There’s no money in it,” he said. “I don’t need to do it. I just enjoy it.”