Scottish soda Irn-Bru returns to “old and unimproved” formula

Photo: Education Images/Universal Images Group (Getty Images)

Few Americans have had an Irn-Bru unless they’ve traveled to Scotland, where the soda is considered perhaps the country’s proudest beverage—well, behind Scotch. Irn-Bru has been imported to the States to slake the thirst of dozens of fans of its singular flavor. That flavor is getting a slight change-up, though, as the company announced it will begin producing a limited edition of Irn-Bru based on the original 1901 recipe, which the company is billing as “old and unimproved” Irn-Bru.

The deli where I worked in college is owned by two brothers of Scottish descent, which is why the deli stocked Scottish delicacies like haggis-flavored potato chips and Irn-Bru. I recall maybe three customers a month actually ordering Irn-Bru, but the ones who did were always over-the-top enthusiastic about it. They were thrilled, just thrilled, that we carried this orange-hued, loosely bubblegum-flavored soft drink. The deli also occasionally displayed Irn-Bru posters sent by the importer, as the company’s controversial advertising is almost as famous as its product. The deli charged a premium for this overseas delicacy—I guess those Scottish imports don’t come cheap—and homesick Scottish customers were more than willing to pay. The standard Irn-Bru boasts of its “indescribable and phenomenal taste” that comes from a combination of 32 flavors.

Advertisement

The limited-edition new-but-old formulation, Edinburgh Live reports, will follow a handwritten recipe from 1901, the year of Irn-Bru’s launch. The recipe had reportedly been stored in the company’s archives for more than a century. It’s assumed that, because of the age of this recipe, no living person had tasted it—until now. If you can get your hands on the “unimproved” Irn-Bru, please let us know if tastes any better than the standard one.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

About the author

Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.