He signed the Sex Pistols, invented megastores, founded an airline, introduced tilting trains and is planning to send fare-paying passengers into space. Now, Richard Branson, lizard king of the shape-shifting Virgin brand, has revealed his latest product... a £300 tap.
To be fair, the Virgin Strauss Water is actually a plastic water dispenser/purifier/kettle. The size of an espresso machine, the red box plugs into the mains water and – at the push of a button – dispenses chilled and hot H20, giving a healthy cold drink or instant coffee with no need to wait for the kettle to boil. One fifth of homes in Israel already have one and Virgin says it could become as popular as the vacuum cleaner.
The £299 T6 and the £379 T7 are being shifted online by Virgin Pure, a joint venture with Israeli makers the Strauss Group.
Will doing away with the need for plastic bottles (if there is a need) make up for the energy bill for heating all that water on demand?
"I think so," Branson says vaguely; children with one drank more water. "I was at Jamie Oliver's house the other day and I noticed he's got one already," he adds, casually.