If you’ve tried the Irn-Bru Energy drink by Scottish manufacturer, AG Barr and have been wondering what’s actually in it and how it might impact your health, then this is the article for you.
I will be discussing what you can find inside this unique and rejuvenating beverage so keep on reading to find out whether this energy drink is suitable for you.
Table of Contents
What is Irn-Bru Energy Drink?
Irn-Bru Energy drink carries the distinct flavour of manufacturer AG Barr’s original Irn-Bru sparkling flavoured soft drink.
The latter had been such a hit in its country of origin that the Irn-Bru soft drink has been dubbed Scotland’s “second national drink” after whisky. It has been described as having a tangy and bubble gum-like flavour.
Understandably, many out there (and maybe that includes you too) would gladly welcome an energy drink version of Irn-Bru and this is probably what led to this drink being launched by AG Barr in 2019.
Irn-Bru Energy drink is sold in two forms:
- Irn-Bru Energy (contains sugar)
- Irn-Bru Energy No Sugar
What’s The Difference Between The Classic Irn-Bru Soft Drink And Irn-Bru Energy Drink?
There is only a small amount of caffeine present in the original Irn-Bru sparkling flavoured soft drink. Its purpose is merely to enhance the flavour of the drink and it comes up to only 30mg in a 330ml can.
However, in contrast, Irn-Bru Energy offers you 120mg of caffeine inside a can of the same size. In addition, the drink also contains other ingredients such as taurine, quinine and several B vitamins (including niacin, and vitamins B6 and B12).
So, if you were looking for something to boost your productivity, then Irn-Bru Energy would be the drink for you.
(For comparison purposes, note that a mug of tea normally contains 75mg of caffeine whereas a cup of coffee has about 100mg.)
What Are The Main Ingredients In An Irn-Bru Energy Drink?
Each 330ml can of Irn-Bru Energy contains these main ingredients:
- 3 calories
- 120mg caffeine (a little bit on the strong side)
- 0g fat
- 0g saturated fatty acids
- 36g carbohydrates
- 36g sugar (for the regular version only)
- 0.5g protein
- 0.25g salt
- 4.8mg niacin
- 0.42mg vitamin B6
- 0.75mg vitamin B12
Irn-Bru Energy also contains trace amounts of:
- Carbonated water
- Citric acid
- Ammonium ferric citrate
- Sweeteners: Aspartame and Acesulfame K (No Sugar version only)
- Preservative E211
- Colours: Sunset Yellow FCF, Ponceau 4R
However, the product packaging does not mention the actual quantities for some of these ingredients. For example, the amount of taurine or quinine that is included in each can.
What Flavours Are Available For Irn-Bru Energy Drinks?
There’s only one flavour available for the Irn-Bru Energy drink: The same classic taste that you’d get in the original Irn-Bru sparkling soft drink.
This lack of variety is a bit disappointing, but if you’re already a loyal fan of the brand’s iconic soft drink, then this probably wouldn’t be an issue for you.
Personally, I hope AG Barr will expand the range of flavours for Irn-Bru Energy drinks in the near future.
Does Irn-Bru Energy Contain Any Ingredients That I Should Be Concerned About?
An additive known as Ponceau 4R has been added into the mixture of ingredients used to make Irn-Bru Energy. This artificial red food coloring has been banned by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency because it causes hyperactivity in children.
So it may be best to keep this drink away from your kids, just to be safe.
For your info, AG Barr has been using Ponceau 4R as part of the recipe for the original Irn-Bru soft drink all along.
But since there have been no reports of the additive causing any problems when consumed by adults, you should still be able to reach for a can without getting overly worried about it.
What Impact Would The Ingredients In The Irn-Bru Energy Drink Have On My Health?
An Irn-Bru Energy drink contains a total of 120mg of caffeine within its 330ml can.
Do the maths and you’ll find that you’ll be getting 32mg of caffeine for every 100ml you drink. That is equivalent to the amount of caffeine you’d get from drinking a medium-sized latte.
Although 120mg of caffeine per can is on the higher end of the scale, it’s still nothing to get too worked up about.
To cater to my fitness needs, I find that consuming between 50mg to 100mg of caffeine per serving works best for me while still allowing me to remain well within my caffeine tolerance limits. I’ve also found it to be sufficient to support the needs of my workout routine.
It’s different for everyone though, so you may need to do your own experimentation with different doses of caffeine to find out what a safe range of caffeine consumption looks like for you.
There are always side effects whenever you consume anything in excess and it would be no different when it comes to consuming Irn-Bru Energy drinks.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) suggests that you stick to a maximum of 400mg of caffeine per day, with only 200mg of caffeine for each serving.
This is a good guideline to follow, but if you need more specific advice, it would be best to check with your doctor.
A regular can of Irn-Bru Energy contains a total of 36g sugar.
In contrast, the Irn Bru Energy No Sugar variant comprises two artificial sweeteners: Ace-K and aspartame.
As a rule of thumb, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the maximum daily sugar intake of 36g for men and 25g for women.
|Men||150 kcal/ 36 g/ 9 tsp|
|Women||100 kcal/ 25 g/ 6 tsp|
If you were to drink just one can of Irn-Bru Energy, you would already be reaching your daily quota without even taking into consideration anything else that’s in your diet.
So if you want to stay within healthy limits, that would mean not drinking more than one can of Irn-Bru Energy in any given day.
However, you may have the flexibility to consume more if you opt for the No Sugar version. This is assuming, of course, that you are still keeping within the recommended daily caffeine limits too.
Artificial sweeteners (No Sugar Version)
In general, I would recommend you opt for the Irn-Bru Energy No Sugar drink. It contains artificial sweeteners that help to enhance the taste of your beverage without adding to your calorie count and causing you additional health problems.
The two sugar substitutes used in this product are acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) and aspartame.
Although it is a better alternative to sugar, there are some controversies surrounding the use of Ace-K as it is said to pose other health threats such as weight gain and chronic inflammation. However, aspartame isn’t as worrisome as this popular additive has been declared to be safe by more than 100 food safety regulators worldwide such as EFSA, FSA, and others.
Quinine is a bitter compound that originates from the bark of the cinchona tree. It acts as a flavour enhancer in Irn-Bru Energy.
Some have claimed that it helps prevent malaria and other infections, but several studies have debunked those statements.
In some cases, quinine might actually trigger negative side effects such as:
- Impaired vision
- Hearing loss
- Nausea and vomiting
Anyway, I think the quantity used in Irn-Bru Energy is probably not significant enough to have any impact on your health.
Taurine is an amino sulfonic acid which exists naturally in human and animal tissues. It is an antioxidant that stimulates muscle performance and protects your body from harmful matter.
Some of its other functions include:
- Regulating your immune system and the content of minerals in your cells
- Supporting the operation of your body’s central nervous system
- Creating bile salts that aid your digestive process
- Ensuring the right balance of electrolytes in your body
Some studies have also suggested when combined with caffeine, taurine helps improve mental performance.
B vitamins are important to aid many of your body functions. There are three kinds of B vitamins present in a can of Irn-Bru Energy:
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Niacin helps to produce and repair your cells. It also helps the enzymes in your body convert the food you consume into energy and acts as an antioxidant that protects your cells from harmful substances. However, ingesting excessive amounts of this vitamin might not be a good idea as it can cause issues such as stomach ulcers, diarrhea, liver problems and much more.
Vitamin B6 does amazing things for your body and is used to treat anaemia and to boost your nerve functions. That being said, it’s important to keep track of how much vitamin B6 you take since an overdose might result in problems such as nausea, loss of control in body movements, and nerve damage.
The Irn-Bru Energy drink contains 0.75mg of vitamin B12 per serving. This vitamin helps keep your body’s nerves and blood cells healthy. It also helps prevent anaemia.
However, just like all other nutrients, taking too much of it will also cause negative side effects like nausea, vomiting, anxiety, headache, and dizziness.
Are There Any Side Effects From Drinking Irn-Bru Energy?
In general, you will probably only face negative side effects from consuming Irn-Bru Energy if you drink it excessively. In such cases, it’s the caffeine and sugar content in the drink that will cause you problems.
Examples of possible health concerns which may arise from consuming too much caffeine from Irn-Bru Energy drinks include:
- Anxiety and nervousness
- Digestive issues
- Muscle breakdown
- Minor addiction
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Loss of bladder control
Meanwhile, the health hazards from consuming too much sugar from Irn-Bru Energy include:
- Weight gain
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Skin aging
- Fatty liver
- Kidney disease
- Dental cavities
Consume In Moderation
Please note that these are not health issues specific to consuming Irn-Bru Energy drinks. Any energy drinks that are consumed without restraint will potentially harm your health, especially when you exceed the recommended caffeine and sugar levels per day.
In general, to avoid facing any of these health issues, just make sure to drink Irn-Bru Energy in moderation.
How Much Does Irn-Bru Energy Cost And Where Can I Buy It From?
If you’re living somewhere in Scotland, Ireland, and Northern England, you can get Irn-Bru Energy drinks from your nearby neighbourhood mart.
For a chance at better deals and to enjoy the convenience of online shopping, you can make your purchase through sites like Amazon instead.
From what I saw online, a 12-pack of regular Irn-Bru Energy drinks was being sold at £11.40 so it comes up to around 95p per 330ml can.
How many cans of Irn-Bru Energy can I drink in a day?
In order to keep your caffeine consumption in check, stick to a maximum of three cans of Irn Bru Energy No Sugar per day.
It’s a totally different story when it comes to the regular Irn-Bru Energy drink which contains sugar in it though. Drink just one can and you’re already reaching the recommended limit for daily sugar consumption.
So here’s my advice: Choose to drink only Irn-Bru Energy No Sugar and don’t take more than two cans of it on any given day.
Irn-Bru Energy vs Rockstar
Rockstar is a sister product of Irn-Bru Energy, and is targeted at millenials.
Both drinks carry the same amount of caffeine (32mg of caffeine per 100ml).
However, I personally think that Rockstar is the stronger drink and that’s probably due to the blend of other ingredients that it contains, namely taurine, inositol, ginseng, and guarana.
For every 100ml of drink, a regular can of Irn-Bru Energy has 11g of sugar, but Rockstar contains only 4.8g.
Essentially, Irn-Bru Energy contains more than double the amount of sugar per 100ml than Rockstar does.
Simply put, it takes around three cans of Rockstar to get an equivalent amount of sugar contained in one can of Irn-Bru Energy.
So, in my opinion, you’d be better off sticking to Rockstar if you’re on a low-calorie diet.
On Amazon.co.uk, Irn-Bru Energy costs £11.40 for a 12-pack while a 12-pack of Rockstar Energy was priced at £17.98 excluding shipping.
What this means is that a 330ml can of Irn-Bru Energy is around 95p, whereas a 500ml can of Rockstar Energy costs about £1.50.
Something to note here is that the prices of Rockstar vary according to its many flavours that are available in the market.
But in general, however, Rockstar still seems to offer better value for money than Irn-Bru Energy due to its larger volume per can.
Irn-Bru Energy vs Monster
Irn-Bru Energy contains 32mg of caffeine in every 100ml whereas you would get 36mg of caffeine if you drank a similar volume of Monster energy drink.
Caffeine-wise, you could say there isn’t much difference between both brands.
If you’re looking for sugar-free options, both brands have something to offer.
You can either go for Irn-Bru Energy No Sugar or Monster Energy Ultra Zero Free. Both contain artificial sweeteners that have been approved by food safety regulators.
I’d personally go for one of these sugarless options to avoid the dangers associated with excessive sugar consumption.
A 330ml can of Irn-Bru Energy costs around 95p on Amazon.co.uk whereas a 500ml can of Monster is priced at about £1.70.
On the surface, Irn-Bru Energy seems cheaper, but you’re actually getting lesser volume for that price.
Although you’ll be paying more for a can of Monster energy drink, it might still be worthwhile.
Irn-Bru Energy vs Bang
Irn-Bru Energy drink has 32mg of caffeine per 100ml, and Bang has nearly double that amount at 60mg per 100ml.
Looking at the caffeine content, Bang would certainly offer you a stronger energy boost than Irn-Bru Energy. So if you’re the kind that requires a high dose of caffeine on a regular basis, then Bang might be the better choice for you.
However, if you asked me, I’d say it isn’t just all about consuming lots of caffeine, but rather seeking out a good blend of energy drink ingredients in order to bring out the best in your performance.
Irn Bru Energy with Sugar contains 11g of sugar per 100ml, but Bang energy drink comes sugar-free.
While Bang claims not to have any sugar, it contains artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) so you still get to enjoy a sweet taste without the consequences of carbs or sugars.
An alternative to the regular Irn-Bru Energy (which contains sugar) is its No Sugar version. Like Bang, this drink relies on artificial sweeteners like Ace-K and aspartame to sweeten it.
For Irn-Bru Energy, it costs around 95p per 330ml can on Amazon.co.uk, while the price of a 500ml can of Bang is about £2.25.
With its higher volume of liquid, Bang seems like a better choice, even when it’s more than double the cost of a can of Irn-Bru Energy.
Irn-Bru Energy vs Red Bull
Irn-Bru Energy and Red Bull both have exactly the same amount of caffeine which is 32mg per 100ml.
In terms of sugar, a regular can of Irn-Bru Energy and Red Bull both carry 11g per 100ml.
On just the basis of its caffeine and sugar content alone, it would seem that Irn-Bru and Red Bull are pretty much identical.
However, differences do exist between the two products in terms of their distinct flavours and the fizz you would experience drinking a can of Irn-Bru Energy.
For Irn-Bru Energy, it’s about 95p for a 330ml can on Amazon.co.uk. Red Bull comes in at almost double the price at around £1.32 for a 355ml can.
Price-wise, Irn-Bru Energy is considerably cheaper than Red Bull. Personally, I think this is because Irn-Bru Energy is a much newer product in the market as compared to Red Bull.
Irn-Bru Energy vs REIZE
Irn-Bru Energy contains 120mg of caffeine within a 330ml can, whereas REIZE only contains 50mg of caffeine.
Although REIZE isn’t loaded with as much caffeine as Irn-Bru Energy, the 1000mg of taurine that comes with it will provide you with an equally good energy boost.
Taurine is regarded as a good, clean source of energy that does not produce any unpleasant side effects afterwards.
Irn-Bru Energy also contains taurine, but it isn’t stated exactly how much has been included in the product.
A regular 330ml Irn-Bru Energy can has 36g of sugar, but there is a No Sugar version as well.
Meanwhile, REIZE energy drink is completely sugar-free.
Both brands use artificial sweeteners that have been extensively tested for their sugar-free variants so these options would be a safer choice for you.
For Irn-Bru Energy, it’s about $0.84 per 330ml serving on Amazon.com excluding shipping.
Meanwhile, REIZE is priced at $1 per sachet INCLUDING shipping. Each REIZE sachet produces a 250ml drink and can be added into any beverage of your choice, be it infused water, juice, or tea, so it’s a more versatile option to suit your personal taste.
Irn-Bru Energy Review
If you’re familiar with the original Irn-Bru soft drink, then you won’t have trouble recognising the Irn-Bru Energy drink on the shelves of your local shops.
Irn-Bru Energy cans retain the brand’s trademark blue and orange color scheme. Although having the image of a strong man lifting the brand name is rather traditional in terms of design, I’d still say it’s a creative representation.
The only difference in product design between the two variations of Irn-Bru Energy would be that the regular version has a black theme whereas the No Sugar version is in grey.
Just take a sip of Irn-Bru Energy and you’ll recognise the brand’s iconic flavour immediately. In a nutshell, I’d say it tastes fruity, aromatic, sweet, and reminds you of bubblegum. It left an aftertaste in my mouth that reminded me of the Red Bull energy drink somehow.
Having tried both the regular Irn-Bru Energy and its No Sugar variation, I felt there was no real difference between the two flavour-wise. So, you’re not missing out on anything even if you opt for the sugar-free version.
Generally speaking, I love to switch things up every so often when it comes to my choice of energy drink flavours. That’s not really possible with Irn-Bru Energy since there’s only available flavour currently in the market so I find that a bit disappointing.
I’ll say the effect that Irn-Bru Energy had on me was just mediocre. I did get a nice energy boost from it, but at the same time, I’ve found other brands like Bang and Monster to be more effective for me.
That being said, 120mg of caffeine from a can of Irn-Bru Energy is still decent for the occasional pick-me-up.
The side effects I experienced from drinking a regular can of Irn-Bru Energy (that contains sugar) is the part that I’m not happy about. Within a just a couple of hours after having consumed a can of Irn-Bru Energy, I already started to feel fatigued and found I wasn’t able to stay focussed any longer.
I guess this is probably because it brings on the effects of a sugar crash, so I would advise you to go for the No Sugar version instead.
You may not be able to find as many reviews about Irn-Bru Energy at the moment as compared to other older energy drink brands, but here’s a quick video to help you see how it’s been received by others who have tried it:
Overall, Irn-Bru Energy did deliver to my expectations so I would give the drink a 6/10.
Generally speaking, I’d say this drink was designed to appeal to fans of the original Irn-Bru soft drink. If you’re one of them, then I think you’d probably like Irn-Bru Energy.
Alternatives to Irn Bru Energy
Within the ready-to-drink category of energy drinks, you can take a look at any of the following drinks:
- Red Bull
- Bing energy drink
- Celsius energy drink
- XS drinks
- Xyience drink
- Monster Khaos
- Monster Assault
- Monster Import
For a slightly different experience, you can try out Mio Energy Water Enhancer. These are water droplets that give you a great caffeine fix while flavouring your water at the same time.
There’s also Vivarin caffeine pills if you prefer something quick and easy to digest. This product provides you with 200mg of caffeine.
Besides that, powdered energy drinks are a good option too. They offer you greater convenience and can sometimes be more affordable than other energy drink options out there. Here are some brands you can consider:
The REIZE powdered energy drink gives you 50mg of caffeine, besides providing you with other stimulating ingredients such as taurine, ginseng, and B Vitamins.
You have the liberty of exercising your creativity in the way you consume your energy drink too, since you can mix REIZE into any beverage of your choosing.
REIZE is sugar-free and is also pretty low in calories, with only 11 kcal in one sachet.
Priced at only around $1 per sachet including shipping, I’d say it’s worth giving REIZE a try today.
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