Minor British Institutions: Irn-Bru

Scotland's other national drink takes pride of place in the only place in the world where Coca-Cola isn't Number One. So is Irn-Bru the real thing? Well, despite the name it is neither brewed nor does it have much to do with iron, regardless of the famous advertising line that it is "Made in Scotland from girders".

The Barr family still has an involvement in the firm that bears its name and makes the stuff, AG Barr Plc, and the recipe is a closely held family secret. However, the statutory requirement to reveal ingredients tells us that it does contain 0.002 per cent of ammonium ferric citrate.

So, you're unlikely to get metal poisoning. Apparently it's a big hit in Russia because of its ability to combat a really bad hangover. It made its way south of the border in the 1970s, and is now the UK's third-best selling brew, sorry, soft drink, made in Mansfield as well as Cumbernauld. It comes in a bewildering variety of packages, with the usual low sugar and high energy versions, but it is best enjoyed in its original form, chilled, and straight from the can. If you like scotch, you'll love Irn-Bru.

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