Sunday, June 26, 2022


Collaborative post

By Cara Sulieman

SCOTLAND’S best-kept secret has been revealed – Irn Bru really is made from girders.

The keep of the recipe, Robin Barr, has let it slip that there is 0.002 per cent of ammonium ferric citrate (AFC) in the national drink.

And ferric means iron – even if it is tiny quantities of the metal.

AFC is one of the 32 ingredients that Robin mixes together once a month to make the sweet fizzy drink.

Irn Bru recipe finally revealed after 1901 recipe found- Irn Bru News Scotland
Irn Bru recipe finally revealed after 1901 recipe found. A stash of cans owned by Actor Martin Compston

With only two people knowing the recipe, the other isn’t named for “security” reasons; Robin will still be going to make the syrup after he retires next month.

And he gave away a few snippets of intriguing information about the treasured recipe that has allowed the Barr family to build their sort drink empire.

As well as the famed iron, the drink contains curry powder, and a can provides 38 per cent of the daily-recommended sugar intake for a female adult.

Ba Bru

Robin also revealed that most of the ingredients come from India – which is why the mascot in the early days was a little Indian boy called Ba Bru.

And Robin is determined that the secret will stay in the family, just as it has done for over 100 years.

He said: “When I finally kick the bucket, my daughter Julie, who is the company secretary, will be passed the formula and she will become the mixer.”

“Just grateful”

Originally set up in Falkirk, Barr Soft Drinks started making the famous drink in 1901, and instantly took off and has since become one of the most successful soft drinks in the world.

Robin said: “I am just grateful my great-grandfather Robert and my great-uncle Andrew stumbled across the recipe in 1901 that has had such long lasting appeal.

“My father claimed he drank it once a day, but I don’t think I’d go that far – I drink it several times a week, though.”

Before Robin joined the company, he trained as an accountant.

Tizer and Orangina

Under his tenure, the firm has grown and started producing other popular drinks including Tizer, Orangina, and Strathmore Spring water.

But it is unlikely that Barrs will be swallowed up by a larger company, as Robin is determined to keep the successful business in the family.

He said: “They have tried to buy me out several times, but we are not for sale. And while I continue to hold the secret formula, that will always be the case.”

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