IRN-BRU Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the secret recipe for IRN-BRU?

A: The recipe for IRN-BRU is known by only three people in the world, former Chairman Robin Barr,his daughter Company Secretary and Legal Affairs Manager Julie Barr and one other A.G.Barr p.l.c board director whose identity remains confidential. The secret recipe has been passed down from one generation of the Barr family to another since 1901 when BARRS IRON BREW (as it was then spelt) was launched by Robert Barr and his son Andrew Greig Barr. On the announcement of his retirement from the role of Chairman in 2009, Robin Barr confirmed that he will continue to mix the secret recipe for IRN-BRU at the company’s headquarters in Cumbernauld. In true Barr tradition, he has now passed the secret recipe onto his daughter, Julie Barr – who will keep the recipe a secret for generations of IRN-BRU drinkers to come.
Beyond confirming that BARRS IRON-BREW was launched in 1901 containing 32 ingredients I am afraid we can tell you no more.

Q: Is there iron in IRN-BRU?

A: Yes the secret recipe for IRN-BRU does have Iron as one of its ingredients

Q: Are there any additives in IRN-BRU?

A: Yes. Additives play a fundamental role in providing safe and enjoyable food and drink products for consumers. They may only be used if they have been approved by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the level of use permitted is strictly regulated in the UK. All ingredients used in our products are authorised and entirely safe, and they are independently verified by the FSA.

Q: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has called for the voluntary removal of a number of artificial food colours in the UK – how does this affect IRN-BRU?

A: We have a process underway at the moment to replace two colours in IRN-BRU, Ponceau 4R and Sunset Yellow, in line with the new guidelines set by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). These two colours are entirely safe and you can be reassured that IRN-BRU meets all regulations and quality standards and is entirely safe to drink.

When this process is completed there will be no major change to IRN-BRU. All we are doing is replacing two colours. The secret recipe for IRN-BRU and the taste of the product will remain unchanged and Robin Barr will continue to make the IRN-BRU essence as he always has at our Cumbernauld headquarters in Scotland.

Q: IRN-BRU is now carrying a statement on-pack saying that two ingredients in the drink Sunset Yellow and Ponceau 4R may cause hyperactivity in children. Should I be concerned?

A: From 20th July 2010 the EU requires all manufacturers of any food or drink containing a number of food additives including sunset yellow (E110) and ponceau 4R (E124) to put a declaration on pack:

The declaration that is on IRN-BRU packs will be as follows:

"E110 & E124: may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children"

This declaration will remain on pack until we have completed the process of replacing sunset yellow and ponceau 4R. We can assure you that these two colours are entirely safe and you can be reassured that IRN-BRU meets all EU and the UK FSA regulations and quality standards and is entirely safe to drink.

(between the hours of 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday)
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A.G.Barr p.l.c., Westfield House, 4 Mollins Road, Westfield, Cumbernauld, G68 9HD Registered in Scotland (Reg No SC5653)