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FOR a generation of consumers Irn-Bru was "made in Scotland from girders".

But AG Barr chief executive Roger White noted yesterday that it is 20 years since it has used that tag line.

He is not worried that the independence referendum, by making the border a more tangible dividing line, could hit sales of a Scottish product in northern England, the focus of a big push for AG Barr's flagship beverage.

"We have and are building a national brand," he says, clarifying that "national" means British.

The figures suggest that this strategy is working.

Sales in Scotland are up 4.8% year-on-year, cementing AG Barr's 22.1% share of the fizzy drinks market.

But in England and Wales sales soared 8.9%.There is more to push for because AG Barr still has only a 3.3% market share down south. Thousands of stores have yet to stock its products.

The Cumbernauld company could seek out another takeover target after its bruising Britvic failure, and its executives yesterday highlighted the strength that falling debt levels have given it.

The fall-out from Suntory's recent purchase of brands such as Lucozade from GlaxoSmithKline could throw up opportunities.

AG Barr already produces Suntory's Orangina brand on licence. It has been suggested that the pair could team up for another go at Britvic.

But while acquisitions remain an option, prospects for organic growth that look stronger than ever could yet sate its managers' thirst for expansion.

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