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  • Writer's pictureRoann Byrne

Uncovering the Unforgettable Tale of Clearer Water: Ross's Journey to Reconnect with His Homeland

How Ross Lazaroo-Hood is Revolutionizing the Irish Water Industry with Sustainable Solutions

Ross Lazaroo-Hood

In the realm of food innovation, our minds often wander to new sauce flavours or inventive packaging solutions. Yet, how often do we consider the essence of life itself—water? Well, one man did. Welcome to the "water that helps people."  


This intriguing story unfolds in a space relatively new to me, and I couldn't be more captivated. Meet Ross Lazaroo-Hood, a force in the Irish food industry - Founder of Landmark Holding Group, Co-Chairman of the Soiléir Group, and the driving force behind Clearer Water.  


As someone immersed in the Irish food scene for over seven years, the revelation about my limited knowledge of water, its sources, and its untold story was eye-opening. So, let's embark on this journey together, shall we?  


Where does the Story Begin?   

Our story commences in the picturesque Magheramorne, nestled in Larne, Northern Ireland. Ross, on a quest for a connection to his homeland after a quarter-century abroad, found himself tasked with acquiring Clearer Water in 2022. It was here that he discovered, that "the story behind Clearer Water was as rich and unique as the source from which it flows."  


“The story behind Clearer Water was as rich and unique as the source from which it flows.”  


With a team embracing neurodiversity, a narrative steeped in history, and substantial investment, Ross embraced a new chapter outside the realm of insurance - a move that would alter the trajectory of everything.  


Transitioning from a single-product focus, the group identified a unique market gap - a water company crafting mixers. Ross questioned:   


"When mixers are 95% water, isn't it better to be using the best water?"  


And so began their quest for water with pH 9.4 high alkaline content, delivering a naturally sweet taste and rendering their mixers significantly lower in sugar and calories.  

The Clearer Water Team


His approach to innovation revolves around a collaborative team culture, where intrapreneurship and ideation thrive. Ross envisions their success serving as a beacon for mixed-ability teams, showcasing possibilities to peers and inspiring those in education.  

What were the Hard Parts?  

In the launch of 'Clearer Twist,' the team encountered an unexpected hurdle. While the flavours were adored, the initial branding lacked a premium feel. The key, according to Ross, lies in swift action. They promptly absorbed the critique, dedicating eight weeks to a comprehensive R&D process involving every team member. December witnessed the successful launch of a completely revamped identity.  


Ross believes the key to maintaining core identity amidst innovation is "making long-term commitments"—to the team, community, and wider society. 


This careful balance means "breaking barriers of great taste and quality but balancing to be a beacon of social change, speaking about our ethos, echoing the centuries of histories that have shaped the very land from which my family comes from, our unique source." 


Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Passion and creativity act as catalysts to lead a team through the entrepreneurial journey. Long-term belief in both oneself and the product is crucial, sustaining momentum in inspiring the product's evolution and future. 


The Greatest Lesson? 

Understanding the product first, creating brand identity/awareness second. Ross reflects, "I wish I had spent the initial period spending time in the plant with the team, learning everything regarding the process instead of focusing on brand identity/awareness as that could have come second." 


Community & Connection 

Clearer Water takes a unique approach to cultural awareness and sustainability. Having recently signed two major 10-year agreements with the Irish Football Association (IFA), they are now the title sponsor of Northern Ireland's Premier Cup Competition. These long-term partnerships foster growth, connecting through a shared vision that brings opportunities to both. 


A Personal Touch 

Ross, diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age, transformed challenges into strengths. As Co-owner of the Clearer Group, he uses his platform to "normalize every condition and let it shine." 


What does the Future look like? 

In their exciting journey of innovation, the Clearer Group has larger-than-life plans for the future. Following expansion outside of Ireland to Britain, they are moving into Turkey and Cyprus in 2024, with hopes to enter the US and Asian markets soon. 


Ross Lazaroo-Hood at the IFA

"It's all about getting a global footprint for the Clearer brand, celebrating great taste." 


In a short period, the brand has successfully established itself as an equal among its peers on taste, demonstrated through several awards. They plan to be at the heart of the "new evolution of hospitality," as principal sponsors of the YesChef and Irish Hotel Awards.  


Overall, Ross's story illustrates the power of passion, creativity, and a commitment to making a positive impact in both business and society. It's a testament to the idea that success goes beyond financial gains and can be measured by the positive change a business brings to its community and the world at large. 


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