Licensees in Northamptonshire are badly suffering because of a water bug devastating the county's water supply.
The cryptosporidium parasite, which was found in the supply last week, has hit more than 100,000 businesses and households as 250,000 people have been told to stop serving tap water for an indefinite period.
Licensees have been hit hard because they cannot serve ice or use post-mix for soft drinks. They have been forced to battle alongside consumers to get their hands on bottled alternatives from shops.
Edward Wood, who runs the Charles Wells pub the White Horse in Norton, near Daventry - the area most affected by the bug - was one of the lucky few to have bottled water supplies on hand for customers.
"We rushed to the shops as soon as we heard, to buy lemonade, but the shops sold out within minutes of the announcements in the media" he said. He and staff had been without drinking water for two days as a result, he added.
Paul Proctor is the managing director of EcoPure Waters which provides water purification systems to the likes of Hydes and Whitbreads.
He said: "This just highlights the need for landlords to start implementing a system which means they can move away from using bottled water and start using a system they can control. Cryptosporidium is pretty dangerous and emanates from waterborne bacteria from livestock getting into the water supply."
The bug, which causes diarrhoea and stomach pain, means food can only be prepared after tap water has been boiled and then allowed to cool. Similarly, dishwashers can only be used as long as they heat water to 70 degrees. Bottle washers are banned since most only heat water to 65 degrees.