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Company chairman Robin Barr
"Promotional costs rose during the festive period"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 29 March, 2000, 09:35 GMT 10:35 UK
Irn Bru firm targets England
Irn Bru screenshot
Several websites are dedicated to Irn-Bru
The makers of Scotland's "hangover cure" want to sell more of the fizzy drink to the English.

Glasgow-based AG Barr, which produces Barr's Irn-Bru, is keen to develop sales in England, where the orange and blue cans are relatively unfamiliar.

The company has announced a slight rise in pre-tax profits for the year to the end of January, to nearly 12.1m, up from 11.99m. The figure is just below analysts' expectations of 13m.

Chairman, Robin Barr, said: "Progress in terms of market share within the UK is likely to remain a hard fought prize."

Festive costs

Profits during the key Christmas and New Year period had been adversely affected by promotional costs.

The extra costs resulted in a "satisfactory" year-on-rear increase in market share during December, according to Mr Barr.

AG Barr has made the development of the Irn-Bru brand its prime objective in England and as such recorded a 16% gain in sales volumes across England and Wales.

Irn-Bru cans
It remains a "development" brand in England
The chairman said Irn-Bru remained a "development brand" in England, even though this may come as a surprise to Scots who have been drinking it for years.

"That's really the area we'll be concentrating all our efforts, while obviously wanting to maintain the brand position in Scotland," added Mr Barr.

The French Government's decision last November to block a proposed takeover of the Orangina business by the Coca-Cola Company, had made its hold on the UK Orangina franchise more certain "for the immediate future".

AG Barr has held the British franchise for Orangina since 1995.

'Made from girders'

Last year the company benefitted from low sugar prices brought about by the strength of the pound, which was only partly offset by higher bottling costs.

Irn-Bru has been said in its advertising blurb to be Scotland's "other national drink", alongside whisky.

Another famed promotional phrase for the orange-gold drink was "made from girders".

Irn Bru is said by the book to be "important for its symbolic value as well as its refreshing qualities", perhaps most notably known as a reviver after a heavy night's drinking.

Inspired by the tradition of tonics and health drinks prepared by herbalists, the drink was called "Iron Brew" until 1947 when legislation made it compulsory to add 0.125g of iron per fluid ounce to any beverage bearing the name.

There was also some doubt about the future legality of calling something a "brew" if it was not brewed in the traditional manner.

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