Upon her arrival in Glasgow for the denouement of the Cop26 climate change conference, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took it upon herself to touch upon one of the cornerstones of Scottish culture.
“I finally got a hold of some Irn-Bru,” she tweeted, celebrating the livid orange drink that serves as one of the country’s national consumables.
“This tastes like the Latino soad, Kola Champagne,” she said in an Instagram video she posted of herself drinking the beverage.
“This tastes just like a Puerto Rican soda,” she continues, smiling.
“This is Kola Champagne. Oh my god. I love it, love it.”
The drink appeared to have been sourced for her by Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon, who tweted: “Amidst all the serious business at #COP26 today, I’m pleased to also report that @AOC now has a supply of Irn Bru.”
The usual quotient of AOC-loathing Twitter users aside, Scotland’s online ambassadors welcomed her to their idiosyncratic gastronomic culture with open arms.
More than a few users suggested her next step should be to seek out some Buckfast Tonic Wine, a far deadlier substance closely associated with Scotland, Glasgow in particular, and violent antisocial behaviour.
The brand itself wasted no time getting in on the action.
First sold in 1901, Irn-Bru was trademarked under its current vowel-deficient moniker in 1946 after manufacturer Barr’s was forced to omit the word “brew” because the drink is not, in fact, brewed (though it does technically contain iron thanks to a miniscule amount of ammonium ferric citrate). The precise 32-ingredient recipe is a closely guarded secret shared by as few as three people.
The brand has a history of marketing campaigns that have pushed the boundaries of taste. Among them were the minstrel-like mascot Ba-Bru and his companion Sandy, who adorned billboards and comic strips for decades before being withdrawn in the 1970s. Another ad from the early 2000s that showed a housewife shaving and singing that she “used to be a man” was withdrawn after a row with broadcasting regulator Ofcom.
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