The company started out in 1830 as a cork-cutting business. Barr, a qualified accountant and the great, great grandson of the original founder, joined as a full-time employee in 1960 and became chairman in 1978. Under his leadership, Irn-Bru was marketed as “Scotland’s other national drink” and became the third-best selling soft drink in Moscow, its biggest overseas market. There’s a great snapshot of the company’s history in The Times today.
Interestingly, Jonathan Warburton – chairman of another of Britain’s great family firms – will be joining the board as a non-executive director.
Warburton, whose business produces over two million bakery products each day with the help of over 5,000 employees, revealed his tips for running a family business to Real Business last year. Read them here.