An Irn Bru fanatic is calling on Scots to boycott the country’s national soft drink in defiance of the Sugar Tax and make their own – following his step-by-step guide.
Lee Callaghan, 49, has come up with a ‘home-bru’ version of the popular fizzy pop – which he creates in his kitchen.
He remembers being just three-years-old when his gran would feed him ginger fizz in a baby bottle.
Lee grew up rarely drinking any other soft drinks and was outraged when Barrs changed the recipe – calling it “a breach of civil liberties”.
But imaginative Lee found a way to circumvent the new recipe by making his own home-brew Irn Bru – which he admits ”smells different”.
Using a Soda Stream, bought for £70 especially for the purpose, and a £4 litre bottle of Irn Bru-flavoured syrup, Lee can mix up the concoction in just two minutes.
It has proved so popular that pals even beg him to bring them a few bottles at the music night he runs.
Joiner Lee said: “I’d go to my granny’s at the weekend and she’d feed me Irn Bru in a baby bottle.
“I think everyone drank it back in the day – nobody mentioned the sugar content. I was gutted when they changed the recipe.
“I had to start thinking outside the box.”
Refusing to cough up £120 for a case of 24 cans of original Irn Bru sold by “profiteers” on eBay, Lee had to come up with another solution.
He invested £70 in a Soda Stream and began experimenting with different Irn Bru-flavoured syrups, costing around £4 for a 1L bottle.
He tried three different varieties of syrup but favours the SnowyCones brand.
The concoction takes two minutes to make, and Lee said: “It is no big deal.
“It’s just the Soda Stream, some water and syrup, rather than buying the rubbish Irn Bru in the shops.
“I can smell the difference when I open the can, I can smell the sweeteners.”
The syrup is 45 per cent sugar, compared to the 38 per cent sugar in old-fashioned Irn Bru.
But Lee says the new recipe has seen sales fall by 40 per cent at his local corner shop.
He added: “It will never be quite the same as Irn Bru, that’s got a secret ingredient, apart from the missing caffeine.
“It looks like Irn Bru and only takes two minutes to make, the same time as it takes to walk to the corner shop.”
Lee, who works as a joiner and lives in Paisley, Renfrewshire, gets about ten 500ml bottles of home-brew Irn Bru from a one-litre bottle of syrup.
His friends nicknamed it “Cally Bru”, and beg him to bring them a few bottles.
The dad-of-one says his teeth are “fine” despite his life-long Irn Bru addiction – and joked: “I still have all my front teeth.”
But his determination to boycott Barr’s best-selling Scottish product is not only down to his taste buds – but a political objection to the Sugar Tax too.
Lee added: “We’ve got to boycott Irn Bru.
“I don’t care about any other drink, I never buy anything else except for maybe a can of Coke.
“It’s shocking – it’s Jamie Oliver’s fault.
“They’ve taken away our right to choose.
“With Coca-Cola, you’ve got Diet or Coke Zero, they’ve given you the option and made it slightly more dear.
“It would have cost 12p more if they kept the sugar levels in Irn Bru.
“I’d pay £1 for a can.
“My local shop has noticed a 40 per cent drop in Irn Bru sales since the Sugar Tax, they must have lost a fortune.”
He believes that if enough people start making their own D.I.Y equivalent, Barr will eventually bring back the high-sugar drink.
Lee said: “You can only hope that they do bring it back.
“If enough people boycott Barrs, they will do something about it.
“I think we should have freedom of choice.”
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE —
1. Add tap water or soda water to a 500ml bottle
2. Add 90ml syrup
3. Using Soda Stream, pump some gas into bottle to add fizz