Irn-Bru may be cast into a new Essex mould

Posted on 7 Sep 2012

Iconic Scottish drink Irn-Bru’s maker A.G. Barr has been in merger talks with Britvic soft drinks to become one of the world's largest soft-drinks companies.

A.G. Barr confirmed that discussions had taken place today after growing speculation in the press and fans of the fizzy drink taking to social media to express their concern.

The orange-coloured fruit drink has been manufactured in Scotland since 1901 and has been marketed as ‘Scotland’s other national drink.’ It has an iconic status in Scotland, with many people being fiercely proud of its Falkirk origins.

Britvic, makers of J2O and Tango, are based in Essex and Irn-Bru fans feared the potential merger would result in Irn-Bru being manufactured in Colchester. The social media campaign caused a stir on Twitter.

Fan Joris van de Wier tweeted ‘We hate Coca-Cola, We hate Fanta too, Cos we’re the Tartan Army, And we love Irn Bru!’ and @ParaScots tweeted ‘Sometimes I cry myself to sleep knowing that there are so many people in the world who will never know the wonders of IRN BRU’.

The social media twitterings prompted a response from Irn-Bru on facebook confirming the secret recipe would stay the same and downplaying rumours that the drink would be manufactured anywhere other than Scotland. The Irn-Bru facebook site said: “IRN-BRU will continue to be BRU’d in Scotland by the Barr family as it has been for the last 100 years.”

If the merger did go ahead, it would create one of the most powerful soft drink manufacturers in Europe. As it stands, both of the companies have posted disappointing figures this year. Barr warned of figures down year-on-year while Britvic was caught up in the controversial £25 million recall of its new Fruit Shoot lid due to safety concerns.

A.G. Barr has said that the talks were only in the preliminary stages and may or may not result in an all share merger of A.G. Barr and Britvic. A full decision will be made by 3rd October.

If the deal were to go ahead, it is agreed that Britvic shareholders would own 63% and A.G. Barr shareholders 37%.

Another blow for Scots – could this be the end of the deep fried Mars bar too?