Angostura Ltd is a Trinidad and Tobago distillery known for its aromatic bitters and rum.
The business has its origins in Venezuela in the 1820s when German immigrant Doctor Johann Siegert perfected a recipe for aromatic bitters to use in his medical practice as Surgeon General to the armies of Simon Bolivar. He lived in the town of Angostura - now named Ciudad Bolivar – which gave the company its brand name. The closely-guarded formula for the bitters does not contain any angostura bark flavouring.
From 1850 Dr Siegert began exporting the bitters to the UK, USA and the Caribbean. In the 1870s, due to political instability in Venezuela, the family business moved to Trinidad, and Don Carlos Siegert pioneered the brand as a cocktail and food ingredient.
By the turn of the century Angostura Bitters were a key feature of what is known as the Golden Age of the Cocktail, appearing in Pink Gins, Champagne Cocktails, Manhattans, Martinis, Daiquiris and many other drinks. The product's position in the liquor trade helped the company to survive the passing of the Pure Food and Drug Act in the USA in 1906 which meant that bitters could not be sold as unregulated patent medicines.
After surviving Prohibition, Angostura became more interested in production during the 1930s and 1940s, reacting to the postwar fashion for Tiki culture and surge in popularity in rum and rum-based cocktails. A multi column distillery was contructed at Laventille in 1949. The company's rum portfolio remains entirely Trinidadian.
The 1919 Rum leads the labels with international focus. This expression was initiated by Fernandes Distillers (now part of Angostura) in 1932 when they bought some government rum stocks after a fire and found out that the charred casks dated back to 1919. Above this in terms of price come two super-premium rums; the 1824 which is aged for at least 12 years, and the 1787 which matures for a minimum of 15 years.
Five and seven-year-old expressions, plus Angostura Reserva, a three-year-old white rum, complete the roster of key export lines, though numerous single cask bottlings and other limited editions are also available. Several other brands such as Royal Oak and Fernandes Black Label are aimed at the domestic market.
The introduction of Angostura Orange Bitters in 2007 represented the company's first major innovation in that part of its business in two centuries. This was followed by the Amaro di Angostura liqueur in 2014.