Truth behind Angostura's distinctive packaging
Angostura's label is famously and distinctively larger than its bottle. Who would design such an oversized label? Truth is, this quirky packaging stems from the laid-back Caribbean attitude.
When, after his death, Dr. Johann Siegert's two sons took over the business they started entering their bitters in various competitions around the world to showcase its quality and grow sales.
Before one such competition, one brother oversaw the design of a new bottle while the other a new label. They failed to consult each other on sizes so, predictably, the new labels were too big for the new bottle.
The error was spotted in time but each brother, and indeed everyone else, thought somebody else would deal with the problem. No one did, so, when the crunch came, they simply stuck the labels on the bottles and entered the competition with an oversized label-covered bottle. The story goes that although they didn't do well in the competition, one of the judges commended the packaging saying what good branding the oversized label was. Hence the 'mistake' was never fixed and the too-big-for-the-bottle became a trademark of Angostura.
The only Angostura bitters bottles not to have an oversized label are distinctive in themselves due to being so tiny. At a mere 3.7ml, they are incredibly cute and are the perfect pocket size for making two or three cocktails. We add these dinky bottles to some of our Cocktail Bundles and I keep a couple in my washbag carry-on luggage to pep-up my cocktails when operating from my seat on a plane rather than a bar.