The Barr family have been producing soft drinks in Scotland for well over 100 years. Robert Fulton Barr set up a factory in the Parkhead area of Glasgow in 1887 where, with the help of his brothers, he began manufacturing a range of drinks, culminating in the creation of Iron Brew in 1901.
At the time of WWII, it was deemed by the Government of the day that Iron-Brew was not actually a “standard drink”. Therefore, it was decided to remove it from the shelves and it remained unavailable for the duration of the war.
After the war, all those previously unavailable products began to fill the shelves of the shops, but the Government brought in new regulations regarding food labeling. Because Iron-Brew was not actually brewed, or made of iron, it had to change its name.
So in 1946 Barr’s Irn-Bru was born. It has since grown steadily in popularity and is now a staple part of the Scottish national diet – something uniquely Scottish to wash down those other Caledonian delicacies, haggis suppers and deep-fried Mars Bars. Irn Bru is, in fact, the biggest-selling grocery product in Scotland.
With a combination of acquiring many other soft drink manufacturers and clever advertising, A.G.Barr plc. is now among the top soft drinks producers in Europe.
IRN BRU has long been used as a hangover cure and now Scotland’s ‘other national drink’ has been added to our original ‘national drink’, to form Irn-Bru Whisky. This means that you can get drunk while curing the impending hangover.
WHA’S LIKE US?
Coca-Cola is claimed to be the world’s favorite soft-drink, but it plays second fiddle in these parts. Scotland is in the unique position of being the only country in the world that coca-cola is NOT the top selling soft drink. IRN BRU is.
It’s even available with your burger at the local McDonald’s.
What’s it like?
IRN-BRU is certainly different. The orange colour might remind you of orange soda, but it’s not. It also has a sort of deep, rusty colour that reminds you of scrap metal!
The initial aroma is clean and cool, and smells a little like tangerines. It’s definitely sugary (not surprising, really), and it has a nippy, tanginess.
Checking the label in the vain hope of deducting more information about the ingredients is a waste of time – all it says is, “a sparkling flavoured soft drink”.
Fine….but what does it taste like?
There’s an initial smack of fruit flavour, but what sort of fruit is anyone’s guess. You’re inclined towards oranges, or something similar, but I think that has as much to do with the colouring as the flavour. There could be hints of tangerines, maybe some iced-tea and perhaps even bubble-gum…or perhaps not!
It’s refreshing, zesty and very, very thirst-quenching.
IRN-BRU contains: Water, Sugar, Carbon Dioxide, Citric Acid, Flavourings, Preservative (E211), Caffeine, Colours (E110, E124), (IRN BRU does actually contain iron – it has an ammonium ferric citrate content of 0.002%).
The drink’s secret recipe, a blend of 32 syrups and other flavours, is known only to two members of the board of Barrs, and is one of the most closely guarded secrets in Scotland!