Here are some things people are betting will soon be common parlance: 'water bar', 'water sommelier', 'luxury water'. Those people are betting money on it.
The water industry seems to be doing pretty well; people are buying expensive brands in shaped glass bottles and now the UK is getting its first water bar, right in that bastion of luxury, Selfridges. This is not the world's first water bar, and others have been helped by self-styled water sommelier, Martin Reis.
Of course, the idea of luxury water can take people aback. Here is something that quite literally falls from the sky but that someone decides to package and give a nice, little price tag. So is there anything to it?
To try and learn the truth, we set up a blind taste test with a number of willing IBTimes UK journalists. We had one main question to answer: could they tell which of the seven waters came from our simple, office tap?
The answer was an astounding 'not really'; only one managed to correctly select the tap water, but some patterns were noticeable. Voss, known for its elegant, tall glass bottle and the most expensive of our bottled selection, was generally ignored or disliked, similarly for the well-known Fiji water. Aquacai, said to be from Panamanian rainforests and endorsed by worldly celebs like Bear Grylls, was often picked as a favourite; as was the binchōtan charcoal filtered water – this is still tap water, but kept in a special container with a piece of binchōtan charcoal that is said to filter the liquid.
One brilliant participant chose the water she said was her favourite as the one she thought was tap; suggesting that, for some, branding might play a more important part than any real difference in the water.
As tongue in cheek as our experiment was, the one conclusion we can take is that the price of the water did not seem to have any effect on whether our participants preferred what they were drinking. That, or the IBTimes UK office tap is connected to particularly refreshing mountain spring. Who knows?