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Byline: Tom Daykin and Karen Herzog
Jun. 4--The summer's hottest thirst-quencher in its plain form drips from a faucet.
Filter it, pour it in a sleek bottle, give it a glamorous name, and it's something dieters and fitness buffs adore: water.
Americans, on average, drank more bottled water in 2006 than milk, according to trade publication Beverage Digest. And Americans now drink nearly as much bottled water as beer.
But it's not Wisconsin's signature beverages -- milk and beer -- that are threatened by bottled water's rising tide. Consumers generally don't buy bottled water as a substitute for either milk or beer, beverage industry executives say.
It's high-calorie, sugary drinks such as sodas that are losing ground. Growing concerns about obesity and health issues such as diabetes are fueling the bottled water tide, says a recent report by Mintel International Group Ltd., a market research firm. Even signs of growing environmental concerns about bottled water sales are not slowing down the thirst of consumers for this simplest of drinks.
"People are trying to do better things for their diet," said Todd …