Diehard Irn-Bru fans travel up to 50 miles to snap up two original recipe cans
Diehard Irn-Bru drinkers were out in force yesterday, with some travelling up to 50 miles to snap up two original recipe cans.
Queuing up outside the Day Today Express in Stenhousemuir, ahead of a 3pm sales kick-off, they snapped up 100 cans in just 15 minutes.
Cans, sourced from a newsagent’s stock room in Luton, were sold for £1.50 each and rationed to two per person.
Extra staff were brought in to deal with the stream of Irn-Bru aficionados.
Comparisons were drawn with Prohibition-era America, where a government ban on alcohol in the 1920s led to speakeasies springing up to meet demand.
And all of the customers were united in calling on AG Barr to bring back the original recipe.
Producer AG Barr changed the formula of Scotland’s other national drink in January 2018 in response to the introduction of a sugar tax in the UK.
While the firm insists the taste hasn’t changed, many fans disagree.
Bruce Tweedie, 34, a fitness instructor from Grangemouth, was first in line to pick up his ration.
He said: “I miss the original recipe so much. I’m going to surprise my fiancée Vikki with a can tonight because she loves it too.
“It’s really difficult to find. It’s like Prohibition where you have to go underground to get it.”
Andy Stuart, 31, a sound engineer from Cumbernauld, said: “I found out about this sale on Facebook.
“The original recipe is getting really hard to find. These cans are stamped best before July 2019, so I think these might be the last
Jacqueline Milne, 50, and her son Jake Milne, 22, from Bonnybridge, were also among the customers.
Jacqueline said: “It’s crazy that you can still get it in places like Canada and you can’t get it here.
“There was a guy around here selling cases of 24 cans who’d bring them to your door for £40.”
College student Jake added: “Fingers crossed they bring the original recipe back.”
Chris Harrison, 40, a sales manager, drove 50 miles from Perth with partner Anna Fettes, 41, a restaurant worker, to join the queue.
He said: “I thought this might be my last chance to buy them.”
Nursery workers Kelly McCann, 33, from Denny, and Angela Pender, 40, from Grangemouth, snapped up cans for a pregnant pal.
Kelly said: “My friend is on holiday, so she messaged me to come and get her some. She’s pregnant and really wanted it.
“I’ll cherish drinking one myself and give her the other one.”
Day Today Express owner Asiyah Javed, 33, said: “We’ve become known as the ‘Irn-Bru shop’ in the local area. When the sugar-tax rule first came in, we stockpiled about 3000 cans sourced from corner shops all over the UK but particularly down south.
“Anytime friends or family spotted cans, they would buy them in for us. This time we got them from Luton.
“We now have about 10,000 followers on Facebook who always respond well to us getting the original recipe in. It’s crazy.”
Asiyah, who runs the shop with husband Jawed, 34, made up Christmas hampers with original recipe bottles in December last year. They sold like hot cakes.
(Image: David Johnstone Photography)
Asiyah said: “You can definitely taste a difference. People liked the sugary taste.
“Customers say the original recipe is good for a hangover, too.
“The cans are often bought in bulk, that’s why we had to ration them. We’ve doubled the number of staff for this afternoon because we know it will be busy.”
Melanie Dallat, a food and drink marketing consultant, told the Record: “Often, people don’t mind change. With food and drink they want to try new innovations.
“But there are certainly heritage products where people really resist change and like them to stay as they are – in this case Irn-Bru.”
Earlier this week, AG Barr said it expected sales to drop 10 per cent and profits to plummet by up to 20 per cent this year. The firm blamed the new recipe and the weather.
Over the past 18 months, a number of Scots newsagents tapped into the underground Irn-Bru market.
News24 in Glasgow city centre has been selling original recipe cans for as much as £6.99 each. And 200 cans priced at £2 each flew off the shelves at Cafe on the Square in Uddingston, near Glasgow, last month.
Paisley student Holly McCormack, who managed to get her hands on 24 cans of the fizzy drink, raffled it off in aid of mental health charity SAMH, raising £100, last month.
After the change of recipe, AG Barr said most people could tell the difference in taste tests.
At the time, they added: “We know that our loyal drinkers love Irn-Bru for its unique great taste and we’ve worked hard to deliver this.
“The vast majority of our drinkers want to consume less sugar, so that’s what we’re now offering.”