Irn-Bru 1901 Launch


New Product Development

Key Fact

CJ Lang was first to market this product


Units Sold (Yr1)

Throughout the years, the original Irn-Bru recipe has undergone a number of changes, with the most recent being the reduction of sugar in response to the UK sugar tax implementation in 2018. However, Barr’s rereleased the original recipe drink in December 2019, under the name 1901, in order to give fans the chance to taste the ‘old and unimproved.’ Based on the authentic recipe discovered in the company’s archives, containing 10.6g of sugar per 100ml (in contrast with 4.7g in the current recipe), the product was sold in 75cl glass bottles retailing at £1.99, as it was originally in order to add to the feel of authenticity.

SPAR Scotland

Launching 1901 on 2nd December 2019, SPAR Scotland was first to bring Barr’s' new drink to market. Through utilising their onsite distribution services, CJ Lang managed to show adaptability and flexibility, delivering the product to all stores, from Kirkwall to Dumfries, within one day of receiving the product in their warehouse.

In order to maximise the visibility of the new 1901 drink within stores, the product was displayed in at least two separate locations throughout the store, cutting back the facings of Irn Bru and Irn Bru Sugar free. Point of sale was again utilised within stores, with a focus on posters, double sided shelf cards and a free standing unit.

In addition to instore merchandising, social media was a key component in highlighting the launch of Barr’s 1901 drink. Social media launched a teaser campaign ahead of the early December launch, with consistent activity following this to maintain customer interest. A Facebook competition was also held, awarding a bronze, silver and gold prize to the winning customers; all prizes included a case of 1901.


Ian Johnstone, Business Unit Director, AG Barr's

"You can imagine the excitement when we announced we were launching 1901- CJ Lang were immediately on the phone asking for a first to market. Due to years of working closely with CJ Lang and the successful launch of IRN BRU Energy, we have built a trust that allows us to do things differently without risk. This trust was the driving force that allowed CJ Lang to be able to deliver 1901 to retailers in the early hours of launch day, giving their retailers the upper hand. I would like to thank CJ Lang for their continued support on this launch and many more to come."

Ian Johnstone, Business Unit Director, AG Barr's

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