Only two people know the recipe for AG Barrs Irn-Bru

Only two people know the recipe for AG Barr's Irn-Bru

Following another impressive sales rise for AG Barr's Irn-Bru, just-drinks takes a closer look at Scotland's self-styled "other" national drink.

  • If you've never been to Scotland and have no Scottish acquaintances, then there's a fair chance that you won't have heard of Irn-Bru. Yet, there are few countries on this earth where Coca-Cola is not the clear number one soft drink and orange-coloured, fizzy Irn-Bru is the reason why Scotland is one of them. Coke and Irn-Bru have been locked in a close battle for outright leadership of the Scottish soft drinks sector (by volume) for several years, which shows just how loyal Scots consumers are
  • That said, an 8% rise in net sales for Irn-Bru in the six months to the end of July was led by the brand's expansion into English territory. Rugby sponsorship deals and greater penetration in northern England have driven growth.
  • While your chances of picking up an Irn-Bru outside of the UK are slim, your chances of discovering the identity of the 32 flavours in the drink are even slimmer. Only two people in the world know what Irn-Bru is made of, one being AG Barr chairman Robin Barr, and the recipe is locked in a safe in Switzerland. AG Barr may soon have to open the vault to do some corrections, however. The firm has agreed to remove two colourings - sunset yellow and ponceau 4R - that have been linked to hyperactivity in children.
  • Irn-Bru has made its name on controversial marketing campaigns and its latest digital ruse is no exception. AG Barr is attempting to engineer a World Cup-winning Scotland football team by asking single Brazilians to relocate to the country. Its aim is for World Cup glory in 2034.
  • Change of hands? Irn-Bru was founded in 1901 and bought by AG Barr in 1959. Barr's recent run of sparkling results for Irn-Bru has been noted by analysts, who think that the company may attract takeover attention as a rare opportunity in a highly concentrated UK soft drinks market. If you can't beat them, join them, eh Muhtar Kent? Are you watching, Indra Nooyi?