Scottish & Newcastle has been named as the top operator of pubs for investors.
The brewer is in the top 500 companies ranked according to how Britain's biggest businesses on the stock exchange have created or destroyed value for their shareholders.
As the table below indicates, JD Wetherspoon has beaten centuries-old companies Whitbread and Bass. Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries, which issued a profits warning last year, has surprisingly come out ahead of fellow regional brewer Greene King.
The research was carried out by Sunday Business newspaper in association with business consultancy Stern Stewart.
It aims to look beyond the profit-and-loss statements and assess how effectively companies use each pound of invested money.
The companies are ranked according to Stern Stewart's benchmark of "market value added", or MVA. This calculates how much money has been put in over a company's lifetime and how much extra or less the company was worth in March this year.
Cadbury Schweppes (17)
Allied Domecq (33)
South African Breweries (65)
Scottish & Newcastle (87)
JD Wetherspoon (125)
Enterprise Inns (231)
SFI Group (275)
Regent Inns (324)
Yates Group (408)
Wolverhampton & Dudley (425)
Greene King (426)
Note: Ranking within the drinks and pub sector, with ranking across all sectors in brackets.
Since the table lists only the UK's largest companies, the following pub operators are omitted: Ann Street Group, Belgo, Belhaven, Burtonwood, Eldridge Pope, Fuller's, Hardys & Hansons, Hartford, Heavitree, Honeycombe Leisure, Jamies Bars, Jennings Brothers, Kingfisher Leisure, Mezzanine Group, Old English Inns, Old Monk Company, Po Na Na, Pubs 'n' Bars, Springwood, Ultimate Leisure and Young's.