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Tuesday, September 28, 1999 Published at 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK

UK: Scotland

Russians develop a thirst for Irn-Bru

Irn-Bru has a cult following on the Internet

Scotland's favourite hangover cure is proving so popular in Russia and at home that the company which makes it has seen its overall profits rise by 9%.

Irn-Bru - which is marketed as "Scotland's other national drink" - remains hugely popular in Scotland where it is viewed as having almost medicinal qualities.

But it is now the third best selling soft drink in Moscow, being beaten only by Coca Cola and Pepsi.

After a disappointing start to the year, sales picked up in the UK when the weather improved, allowing its maker, AG Barr, to record a 9% rise in interim underlying profits.


As the hot weather stretched into July, thirsty consumers helped push up UK sales by 3%.

Export sales of the group's drinks also jumped by more than 50%, mainly because of concentrate sales to AG Barr's new franchise bottler in Russia, KLP Soft Drinks.

The warmer weather and export sales helped push the group's total turnover for the six months to 31 July up to 58.3m from 56.5m last year. Pre-tax profits rose to 8.2m from 8.1m.

AG Barr also makes another icon of British childhood, Tizer.

Iron Brew

"The improvement (in the weather) was less pronounced in Scotland which still remains proportionately our most important trading area," said a company spokesman.

"Although the increases in turnover reported above have been relatively modest, our brand share of the British carbonates market did improve during the first half year, reflecting good performances from both Irn-Bru and Tizer."

Irn-Bru started life in 1901 as Iron Brew but took on its Scottish phonetic spelling due to post-war trademark rules.

It has become an icon of Scottishness around the world and is eagerly sought out by ex-pats.

Internet sites

In recent years it has been promoted with a series of quirky, off-beat and sometimes controversial adverts.

The drink even has a dedicated following on the Internet with a number of unofficial fan sites.

Meanwhile, AG Barr warned that negotiations about renewing its UK franchise for the Orangina soft drink later this year could be affected by a dispute in France.

Drinks group Pernod Ricard announced in 1997 that it had agreed to sell its Orangina business to The Coca-Cola Company.

However, the deal remains up in the air following concerns raised by French competition authorities.

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Internet Links

The Unofficial Irn-Bru Site

Internet Irn-Bru Machine (Unofficial)

The Church of Irn-Bru (Unofficial)

The Official Irn-Bru Site

The Official Tizer Site

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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