The price of a pint of bottled water in the UK on-trade is up to GBP1 (US$1.99) higher than the equivalent sized beer, according to new research.

In a survey of pubs across the country, conducted last week by food and drink writer Martin Isark, the average price of a pint of beer came out at around GBP2.50. A pint of bottled mineral water was on average above GBP3.00, Isark discovered.

"Pubs are taking advantage of non beer drinkers which is very short sighted," Isark noted. "Non-alcoholic drinks don't carry duty, so a pint of water should be much less than beer."

Richard Laming, spokesman for the Bottled Water Information Office, countered: "Bottled waters are increasingly popular with people visiting pubs and restaurants who like the fact that they know where they come from and that they taste good.

"People also recognise that bottled mineral and spring waters come from fully sustainable sources and they are increasingly becoming a part of people's soft drinks repertoire. But as with all other drinks on sale - soft or alcoholic - prices are set by the individual retailer."