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People are panic-buying Irn-Bru before this big recipe change

Scotland's in pandemonium

People are panic-buying Irn-Bru before this big recipe change
04 January 2018

There is a veritable panic on the shores of Scotland as I type this. Screeching, barging, kissing (of a certain type apparently preferred by the residents of one city) - it’s all go in the bonnie land of Scots. A cloud of orange mist from a thousand burst cans rains over the dales - it’s like a scene out of 28 Tins Later. Ultimate panic, but why?

Well, because the evil overlords are changing the recipe of Irn-Bru, aren’t they? And you know what? Gonnay no dae that.

But you can’t stop the fizzy powers that be, and there’s an actual reason they’re switching it up - it’s all down to everyone’s third favourite white powder: sugar. Essentially, it’s all because the UK Government have introduced a sugar tax, which will lock into gear in April.

Under its current guise, Irn-Bru harbours a lip-smacking 10.3g of sugar per 100ml (yes please), which is around 8.5 teaspoons of the good stuff in every single can. Ridiculous of course, but maybe that’s why it tastes so hot-darn smashing - ever thought about that, Robert Killjoy Silk? As a result of the buzz-killing restrictions, they’re lowering the fun level to 4.7g per 100ml, and substituting much of the sugar with a mix of low-calorie sweeteners, including aspartame.

An AG Barr spokesman said:  “From January 2018 Irn-Bru will continue to be made using the same secret Irn-Bru flavour essence, but with less sugar. 

“The vast majority of our drinkers want less sugar in their Irn-Bru so that’s what we’re now offering. 

“We know that our loyal drinkers love Irn-Bru for its unique great taste and we’ve worked hard to deliver this. 

“We ran lots of taste tests that showed most people can’t tell the difference – 9 out of 10 regular Irn-Bru drinkers told us we had a good or excellent taste match.”

This is probably a good thing in the long run, and the taste isn’t going to change drastically, but you know what happens when people face change of any sort - absolute chaos. The original recipe hasn’t been changed for 117 years, so you know there’ll be at least one 118-year-old curmudgeon yelling at a cloud as a result of the announcement.

Still, they’ve got a few months while some of the old bottles remain on shelves during the overlap - time to kick their arses into gear, get down the local and nab a haul of Ginger.


Stephen McLeod Blythe, who runs the Save Real Irn-Bru campaign, agrees:

“People are stockpiling. A guy said he stocked up on 250 cans to try and ride this out.

“I suspect this change has come as a misguided response to declining fizzy drinks sales overall. It will eventually be reversed.”

And hiker Alan Clark, who is currently undertaking the very culturally significant and important task of photographing a can of Irn-Bru on all 282 Munro summits around Scotland, said:

“I’ll get a few cases to put away for future. It would be good if they kept making the original too, I’d pay the extra.

“I don’t think it will benefit the flavour. I have a can when I come off the hills. And it’s a great hangover cure.”

So regardless of whether you’re in Scotland, I’d say it’s high time you kicked down that front door of yours and hugged the nearest case of Irn-Bru PDQ. Hire a lorry if you have to. Drink Irn-Bru through your teeth! Rot those useless slabs of enamel - who needs ‘em? You certainly don’t!

(Image: Adam Wilson)