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⚙️ Table Talk #114: Facts, Fables & Fizzy Drinks 🥤


Today’s Table Talk tells the tale of a gastronomic national treasure. 

A true creature unto itself, a veritable trend bucker, a brand with more curious quirks than you can shake a stick at. 

It’s Scotland’s other national drink. It’s Irn-Bru.

Curious facts and curious fables are the bedrock of great brands. 
When told and retold, they transform a mere ‘product’- something you might pick up in a store, into a ‘brand’ - something distinctive, memorable and worthy of a conversation at the dinner table.
It’s rumoured that there are only three people in the world who know the real recipe of Irn-Bru and that these will never travel on a plane altogether. Iconic. 
It’s well documented that Irn-Bru is the most bought soft drink in Scotland, the only country in the world where Coca-Cola’s grip of steel has been challenged by a plucky competitor.
The former is hearsay, the latter fact. Both powerful.

Credit: Irn Bru

The story of Irn-Bru is one of three chapters. When first founded, back in 1875, Irn-Bru was sold as ‘aerated water’ and called 'Strachan's Brew’. 
Fast forward 26 years and the product was relaunched ‘Iron Brew’ with Adam Brown, a famous highland athlete adorning the label.  They existed in this guise all the way up until 1946 when a change in the law meant that a product's marketing needed to be literally true and with this the legality of their brand name came under fire. Their liquid wasn’t brewed as such, and it didn’t contain a whole lot of iron. Undeterred, they dropped a couple of vowels, became ‘Irn-Bru’ and sallied on.
You might wonder why, since then, they’ve become quite so iconic. In our minds, it’s because they zig where others zag. Most brands have a logo, a colour palette, perhaps some illustrations and there the brand assets run dry. Irn-Bru has its own brand tartan. Its identity is fundamentally intertwined with that of an entire nation. They don’t follow someone else’s rule book, they write their own.
Credit: TSPL


A lesser lauded, but no less important trait of great brands is great customer service. And we can tell you from experience that if you dress as lobster, clasp an Irn-Bru in your claws, then send a snap to the Irn-Bru customer service team you’ll be sent a very smart branded t-shirt for your efforts.

The helter skelter towards a product launch is a swirling, whirling, slightly dizzying ride. So, having got six new wines out the blocks last week, we’ve been enjoying the relative calm. 
It’s been a real joy to hear the first notes of feedback from restaurateurs, journalists and lovely people like you. I can’t tell you how much it energises me and the team to hear your thoughts, so please keep them coming, whether a quick note via email or tag on social.
Until time,
Luke x

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