Scotland’s other National Drink

I had my first experience with Irn-Bru at the Gatlinburg Highland Games (now the Smoky Mountain Highland Games).  My brother, who spent quite a bit of time in the UK doing his doctoral work, looks at me and says:  “Have you ever had one?”  I shook my head and got in the line.

irnbruIf you can believe it, Irn-Bru (pronounced Iron Brew if you were wondering) was first manufactured in 1901.  It has always had the bright orange color and the over abundance of caffeine and sugar have made it a soft drink fanatics dream.  Originally called Iron Brew, a change in laws made the company face a name change 1946 because the drink is not brewed.  instead of losing that market share, they changed the spelling and Irn-Bru was born.  Over the years they have made a few changes and added a few products to their lineup (Sugar-Free being the newest) but the traditional orange Irn-Bru. is still the best and the most popular.

The rumor is that during a building project, there were many iron workers dying due to the amount of alcohol they were drinking.  One of the local soft drink companies came to the rescue and made a drink with lots of sugar and lots of caffeine.  Thus it was named Iron Brew after the iron workers, and steel workers that it was designed to refresh.

Irn-Bru 2Irn-Bru is by far one of the best soft drinks on the face of the planet in my opinion.  The taste is like a Fanta gone horribly… right.  Imagine a Coca-Cola and a Sunkist have a baby, you are almost to the goodness that is Irn-Bru.  I will also freely admit that at the first faire I tried Irn-Bru at that I found myself in the line numerous times (at least 4 through out the day).  I love the taste.  I can understand the draw.  It is not the typical brown cola that we drink here in the states to get a boost of caffeine.  With this drink, you get a different taste and that little bit of pep you need to keep you going throughout the day:  life is good.

Here is the bad:  it is hard to find in the US.  I look in every single Celtic store that I go in and hope that they might have a few bottles on the shelf.  If they do, at least one bottle is going home with me.  Thank you Irn-Bru!  You are the soft drink of the Scottish and their descendants.