PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD – The House of Angostura, maker of Angostura Bitters, will celebrate its 200 year anniversary this year, in 2024.
The brand dates from 1824, when it was created in Venezuela as a medicinal tincture by Dr. Johann Seigert, surgeon general in Simon Bolivar’s army. In the 1870s, Dr Siegert’s three sons moved to Trinidad, where Angostura has been made since 1824.
The product’s familiar paper wrapping, with a Royal Warrant, is an essential item on most American bars, both restaurant and home.
The company formed in 1870 and formally known as the House of Angostura. It became Angostura Holdings Ltd. when it was listed on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange in 1982. Angostura Holdings Ltd. is still a publicly traded company.
In the 1950s, the company began selling rum. In recent years, the company has introduced orange and coffee bitters.
The word angostura comes from an actual plant, Angostura trifoliata, which is an ingredient in Abbott’s Bitters (recently revived) and the Fever-Tree tonic water. The plant is not quinine, which comes from Cinchona tree, named by Carl Linnaeus in 1742 after it had cured the wife of the Count of Chinchon of malaria, hence Fever Tree.
The brand is one of the best known brands of the British Empire, along with the Jamaican and Canada brand Canada Dry. It is one of the Royal Warrant holders, along with other drinks brands like Schweppes, founded in Geneva and a warrant holder since 1951.
The current chief executive officer is Laurent Schun, who joined the company on January 23, 2023. He had been at Pernod Richard, and is an INSEAD graduate.
“For any company to reach 200 years is an incredible achievement. We’re very proud and really excited going into our bicentennial year,” said Schun in a release. “We have so many plans that we’re about to implement, including some exciting new products.”
The company also offers soft drinks, including the Angostura Chill like of soft drinks.