Scottish town wants Irn-Bru birthplace mural and says Glasgow hijacked famous drink

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A group of historians campaigning for a mural to be erected celebrating the original home of Irn-Bru claim the famous drink has been hijacked by Glasgow.


Initially named 'Irn Brew', Scotland's other national drink was launched in 1899 in a joint launch by AG Barr & Co (Glasgow) and Robert Barr (Falkirk).

The drink was originally produced in Falkirk, near Stirling, with a colourful image daubed on the gable wall of the Cockburn Street building - which is now covered up by a billboard.

The group hopes the mural will see Falkirk recognised as the true home of Irn-Bru. Picture: SWNS

The group hopes the mural will see Falkirk recognised as the true home of Irn-Bru. Picture: SWNS

READ MORE: ‘Real’ Falkirk-style Irn-Bru is back - but not for long

Two years later Barr's Iron Brew was launched, with the spelling going on to become 'Irn-Bru' in 1946.

In 1959, both sides of the family business were merged into one, A.G Barr.

Campaigners hoping to put Falkirk on the tourist map have called for a mural to be erected in the town - believing the drink has been wrongly adopted by Glasgow.

Convener of heritage body The Society of John De Graeme, David Reid, believes tourists would flock to the former industrial town - much as they do for whisky tourism in other parts of Scotland.

Mr Reid said: "The mural used to be there, on the side of the original factory where Irn-Bru was created.

"It was where it originally started. Barr was originally a cork maker, he created corks for bottles, then he moved into aerated water.

"Falkirk used to be an industrial town, but the slogan 'Made from girders' didn't originate until the 1980s as an ad slogan.

"There are pictures where you can see the Barr's cart pulled by a horse.

"It was one of the biggest horses in the world.

"People believe that Glasgow invented Irn-Bru but it started in Falkirk.

"There was a family member who started some of it in Glasgow.

"One of them wanted to retire and sold his share.

"The concept was created in Falkirk, it was there until 1990.

"A lot of people have a concept it's Glaswegian."

The Society of John De Graeme usually focuses on the town's Medieval history but branched out to push for its more recent history to be commemorated.

Mr Reid, 33, who has lived in the town all his life, hopes that international tourists from countries where Irn-Bru is a popular drink would be drawn to the town.

He added: "The Russians absolutely love Irn-Bru.

"It is popular to the extent they have got their own factory.

"The Japanese are quite fond of it, and expat countries such as New Zealand and Australia drink a lot of it too.

"It has a growing popularity and it is extremely popular."

He hopes that the soft drink could diversify Falkirk's other heritage connections - including William Wallace, the Jacobite Rebellion and inventions such as the Falkirk Wheel.

Mr Reid said: "It would improve what's there.

"We put forward the idea as there was a proposal to improve the aesthetics of the town.

"If there a shop, or a tour, or a wee museum, I don't think that would be a bad idea.

"Falkirk is the birthplace of Scotland's other national drink."

He hopes the idea will gain attention from Falkirk council.

Mr Reid added: "You can still see parts of the original mural.

"The bits that aren't painted over are under the billboard.

"I don't know if it would need to be completely redone.

"The potential is there."

A spokesman for A.G. Barr said: "We're incredibly proud of our heritage dating back to our original Barr factory in Falkirk in 1875. "We love how passionate our Irn-Bru fans are and wish them well with their idea."