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COKE FIENDS; Irn-Bru beaten by US rival in fizz fight to be Scots' favourite.

Byline: FRANK HURLEY

THE orange-coloured soft drink was first made in an AG Barr lemonade factory in 1901 in the east end of Glasgow.

It became a popular drink, labelled Iron Brew, because one of its secret ingredients was rumoured to be iron.

But in 1946, the company had to change its name to Irn Bru after new laws banned a product taking its name from something not proven to be an ingredient.

The drink is a cult symbol, thanks to its TV advert slogan: "Your other national drink, made in Scotland from girders."

Only two directors of AG Barr know the syrup-based recipe and its 32 ingredients.

Around 100million litres are sold each year.COKE has beaten Irn-Bru to be Scotland's favourite soft drink for the first time ever.

Until now, Scotland had been the last bastion against the rising sales of Coke in a battle that has raged for more than a decade.

But the famous orange- coloured soft drink has finally lost out to its world-famous American rival.

Sales figures issued by independent market research company ACNielson yesterday reveal that Coke has 41 per cent of Scotland's soft drinks market.

The report fails to disclose Irn Bru's market share but it confirms its figure is lower.

And manufacturers AG Barr admit a 23 per cent drop in annual profits.

Celebrities greeted Irn-Bru's blues with sadness and surprise.

Entertainer Johnnie Beattie said: "Irn-Bru is a national icon.

"I'm sorry to hear its been beaten though it was nice that Scotland held on to its soft drinks independence for such a long time."

SNP tourism spokesman Kenny MacAskill said: "This is disastrous. It's the duty of every Scot to remedy the situation by supporting our home product.

"Irn-Bru is well recognised as part of the Scottish identity.

"It would be terrible if it were to lose its prominence in our culture forever."

But recent controversial adverts by the Edinburgh-based Leith Agency have stuck in the throat of some Irn-Bru buyers.

One advert featured a new-born baby breast feeding with the slogan: "Mmmm, mum's been drinking Irn-Bru."

Women's rights groups were furious at another advert which showed a hypnotised woman mimicking a goat and biting on a pair of Y fronts while her doctor stole her can of Irn-Bru.

Irn-Bru is being gulped down in the USA, especially by ex-pats, although one of its red dye components had to be removed for the US market because it wasn't licenced.

No one from Barr's was available to comment on how their business bubble burst at home.

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NATIONAL ICON: Kenny MacAskill is horrified that Coke should beat Irn-Bru
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 29, 2002
Words:438
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