IRN Bru’s manufacturers A.G. Barr has announced an investment of £5 million in its Cumbernauld facility with the installation of new, high-speed filling capability for its glass bottle range.

The investment will secure the future of Barr’s iconic 750ml glass bottle, although it will mean that they will no longer be able to process returned bottles.

Jonathan Kemp, Barr’s commercial director, said: “We know how much our consumers love the taste of their favourite soft drink flavours in our iconic 750ml glass bottles. This significant investment allows us to continue to offer our consumers their favourite products in glass, well into the future.”

The investment will replace Barr’s current glass line, which is almost 20 years old, with faster, more efficient glass-filling capability, and will see the energy-hungry returnable glass bottle washing equipment decommissioned.

Kemp said: “From the beginning of October information on the change will be carried on the bottle label and we will work with retailers to display materials in their premises to ensure our consumers understand what is planned.”

But John Mayhew, director of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland criticised the plans.

Mayhew said: “It’s disappointing to see Barr abandoning this much-loved return scheme, but the long-term solution is a proper universal scheme where all drinks containers sold in Scotland can be returned for a deposit, not just Irn Bru bottles.

“It’s the best way to beat litter, promote much higher rates of recycling and help Scotland move towards a circular economy.”