American Water Star Inc. has commenced operations at its three bottling facilities. The Las Vegas-based beverage bottler said yesterday that the three sites, located in Jacksonville, Florida, Magnolia, Mississippi, and Phoenix, Arizona, will have eight bottling lines in operation during the third quarter of 2004, which the company expects will increase to 10 bottling lines in operation in the fourth quarter of 2004.

American Water Star also intends to open a bottling facility in Honolulu early next year.

The initial three bottling facilities have the ability to produce more than 4.3m cases (3,000 truckloads) of beverage per month. The company believes that the cost of production will be less in these new production facilities than experienced in the past.

The company also plans to continue to use some co-packing arrangements currently in place to supplement production needs for certain geographic areas.

"We are very pleased this bottling capacity is now in-house. These plants dramatically reduce our reliance on outside co-packing sources and change our whole approach to the beverage business," said Roger Mohlman, CEO of American Water Star Inc. "Demographically the bottling facilities can service a tremendous portion of the US population."