Scotland’s famous soft drink, Irn-Bru, recently appeared on the shelves of my local HEB. Having only tried it once before (and that was many college guys sharing one six-pack) I had to pick up a couple bottles and give it go.
Irn-Bru was first produced in 1901 as Iron Brew. But in 1946 they had to change the name to what it is today because the drink is not actually brewed. It has a distinctive orange color and the parent company, A.G. Barr, has come under fire for it’s racy and controversial advertising for the beverage.
The only way I can describe the flavor of Irn-Bru is if Juicy Fruit gum was made into a soda. It’s a distinctive citrus flavor but without the taste of any specific fruit. It’s very different than an orange soda like a Fanta or Sunkist with some bitter and sour notes that counteract the sugary sweetness. The flavor is very strong and I can’t imagine having it with a meal and being able to taste anything but Irn-Bru, but I also imagine someone who hasn’t grown up on Coke would say the same thing about it. It’s refreshing and crisp but I don’t see myself stocking up on Irn-Bru any time soon. Maybe once in a while I will grab a bottle.
Back in the day Irn-Bru was a mythical creature. It was (and still is) one of the few sodas that beats Coke in sales in it’s region. But yet it was never available in the US. Now thanks to the Internet and our culinary desires to try the unfamiliar, items from other countries like Scotland’s Irn-Bru are making their way onto our supermarket (and virtual) shelves. I’m excited to see what new items I will find on that “International” shelf at HEB.