We know that tea is the national drink of Britain, followed closely by a friendly pint, but the fizzy drink Irn-Bru is so popular in Scotland that it’s been called “Scotland’s other national drink” (after Whisky.) In fact, it’s so popular it gives Coca-Cola a run for its money, standing toe-to-toe as the top-selling soft drink. Irn-Bru is also the third best selling fizzy drink in the U.K.
Irn-Bru was invented in Glasgow in 1901 and it’s famous for its bright orange color, which at one time was believed to be from the drink’s iron content. In actuality, the drink contains only .002% of iron along with a combination of 32 fruit flavors and real sugar.
Originally called Iron Brew, a law in 1946 required that product names reflect their actual contents, so Iron Brew changed its name to Irn-Bru since the amount of iron was negligible and it wasn’t actually brewed.
But the name change certainly didn’t stop A.G. Barr, the current manufacturer, from using these misconceptions to its benefit. One of the most famous and popular marketing campaigns from Irn-Bru included the tag line “Made in Scotland from girders.”
Irn-Bru is now as well known for its cheeky adverts as it is for the product itself, so little wonder it has become so popular.
One of my favorite Irn-Bru adverts is this take off on the children’s book The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. Not only is it funny but it shows some great Scottish icons like the Falkirk Wheel and the Forth Rail Bridge.