Is Irn-Bru really made from girders?

Robin Barr, director A.G. Barr, with a vintage Iron Brew poster in 1971. Picture: Contributed
Robin Barr, director A.G. Barr, with a vintage Iron Brew poster in 1971. Picture: Contributed
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The makers behind Scotland’s famous drink take a look at the history of Irn-Bru and ask - was it really made from girders?

Girders are to Bru what water is to whisky. It’s part of its heritage - a legacy that has been running through the very veins of its DNA for over a century.

The Irn Bru design has changed over the years.

The Irn Bru design has changed over the years.

As for the legend of the girders, and whether it’s one of BRU’s secret ingredients, that remains a mystery.

Nobody knows where the myth began and if it’s really true.

Scientists and fans alike have spent years trying to nail the true flavour of Irn-Bru, looking to the girder in the hope it would reveal new findings. Some say it’s the reason BRU gets you through, while others believe it’s the secret to its indescribable taste.

To celebrate the new identity and return of the iconic symbol on the new cans and bottles, we look back at the story that inspired A.G. Barr’s successful ginger drink to try and find out if Irn-Bru really is made from girders and why the makers felt it was essential to the new design.

Irn Bru has recently unveiled its new design.

Irn Bru has recently unveiled its new design.

READ MORE - 10 things you probably didn’t know about Irn Bru

The myth is as old as the drink itself. Rumour has it that the steel workers working on the re-construction of Glasgow Central Station were some of the first people to taste the famous bottled drink.

Exhausted, parched and tanning more bevvy than could quench their thirst, a soft drinks manufacturer named A.G. Barr noticed the workers struggling to keep up the hard labour.

He came up with a tonic-like drink made with caffeine, giving the workers a much needed sugar boost to get them through a hard day’s graft. The new designs play tribute to this era, when the original ‘Iron Brew’ was born.

Irn -Bru advertisement.

Irn -Bru advertisement.

Word quickly spread of this moreish new brew, and soon enough the orange carbonate was being endorsed Adam Brown, a highland athlete with a glorious moustache.

As the original strongman on Bru’s first ever labels, he joins the girder on the new packs, flexing his muscles once again for the 2016 designs.

Rumour has it this quality fizzy drink contained iron in its original recipe, extracted from the very nectar of the steal beams themselves.

Today, Scotland’s other national drink is still brewed by Robin Barr in a high-security, no-access vault, buried deep within the grounds of the Cumbernauld factory.

Graham Barr raises a glass beside a cake to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Irn-Bru company in Glasgow in August 1980.

Graham Barr raises a glass beside a cake to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Irn-Bru company in Glasgow in August 1980.

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Former factory workers have claimed sightings of the girder extract rumoured to be responsible for the drink’s distinctive orange colour but no evidence has ever been found.

True or false, if there’s one thing we know it’s that Bru’s campaigns over the years have embodied the uplifting spirit and resilience of the Scottish fans for decades.

Made in Scotland from Girders’ unforgettable ads brought the myth of the steel workers to life, transforming BRU drinkers into unusually strong, durable or magnetic characters.

For most Scots, Irn-Bru is a part of our national identity and the new designs remind us of the brand’s strong link with girders.

Thirty years since Made in Scotland from Girders, the girder is back with a new look that champions Bru’s legacy. ‘Mon yersel’ pal!

What do you think - is Irn-Bru really made from girders?

There might not be any actual iron in the liquid itself but we still like to think of it giving Scots their daily dose of strength. Maybe there’s a wee bit of iron in us all.