Care to See the Water Menu?

While all this glamour attached to water might seem a bit absurd, Johnson believes that selling high-priced water is a logical decision in today's market.

"Any market you look at, whether it's food, clothing, perfume, whatever it might be -- wine -- you've got a pyramid," Johnson said. "And you've got the bottom end of the market, a middle and a top. And this market didn't have anything at the top."

Less Expensive, Better Taste?

But what about the bottom of the market? Thames water, London's tap water treated from the Thames River, scored third out of 24 in a recent water taste test, ranking higher than most of the fancy water at Claridge's.

Thames water London quality control manager Keith Smith doesn't believe in all the posh water hype.

"If people wish to purchase bottled water, then that is their choice," said Smith. "It's just a thousand times more expensive and an equivalent taste from my perspective."

The thing is, people do want to purchase bottled water. Sales have increased a thousand-fold since the mid-1980s. Is it a taste sensation or just a status symbol for our times?

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