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Saturday, 5 May, 2001, 15:03 GMT 16:03 UK
100 years on the Bru
Irn Bru screenshot
Irn-Bru is Scotland's "other" national drink
The bright orange brew famed for its qualities as a hangover cure is celebrating its centenary.

Irn-Bru, often referred to as Scotland's 'other' national drink, is celebrating 100 years as a reviver after a heavy night's drinking.

The golden, fizzy drink with the distinctive sugary taste has been a firm favourite north of the Border for generations.

It is one of the few locally-produced drinks to challenge Coca-Cola's dominance of the soft drinks market.

Irn-Bru cans
Irn-Bru was first produced by AG Barr's of Falkirk in 1901
AG Barr plc, which has been manufacturing the drink in Glasgow since 1901, is planning a string of events to mark the drink's centenary.

The drink's tradition of innovative advertising campaigns, such as the famous slogan "Made in Scotland from Girders", will be continued with three new TV commercials and the company is sponsoring a pop festival in its home city in June.

Irn-Bru was created in Glasgow in 1901 by Andrew Greig Barr, one of three brothers from a Falkirk family which came to dominate the Scottish soft drinks trade.

His father, Robert Barr, expanded his cork-cutting business in 1875 to include a sideline in aerated water, which swiftly became the company's main source of income.

Secret recipe

His eldest son Robert Fulton Barr was dispatched to set up a factory in the Parkhead area of Glasgow in 1887, where he and his brothers Andrew and William set about creating dozens of new drinks, including the one that was to set them apart - Irn-Bru.

The drink's secret recipe, a blend of 32 syrups and other flavours, remains a closely guarded secret, known only to two members of the board of the company.

Irn-Bru does actually contain iron - it has an ammonium ferric citrate content of 0.002%.

Until World War II it was one of several drinks going under the name Iron Brew, but the threat of tighter government controls on the accuracy of brand names prompted the company to register the name Irn-Bru in 1946.

Symbolic value

Since then it has become a staple part of the Scottish national diet, a complement to other unique delicacies such as haggis suppers and deep-fried mars bars, making it the biggest-selling grocery product in Scotland.

In 1999, Irn Bru was included in the prestigious 900-page Oxford Companion to Food.

It was ranked alongside caviar, quail and smoked salmon as one of world's great foodstuffs.

The book said it was "important for its symbolic value as well as its refreshing qualities".

Irn-Bru also sells well in Russia, a fact often attributed to its resemblance to the Soviet-era soft drink Buratino.

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29 Mar 00 | Scotland
Irn Bru firm targets England
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