The bartending community is crazy about bitters. Nowadays, we have bitters of any kind: grapefruit, vanilla, chocolate, lavender, you name it. But the most famous of them all and the one you can find in almost every liquor store in the world, is hands-down Angostura bitters.
Created by Dr. Johann Siegert in 1824, Angostura is a wonderful infused alcoholic mixture made with clear spirit, water, botanicals, herbs and spices – needless to say that the exact recipe is a secret. But the first thing you’ll notice when you see a bottle sitting on the shelf, will most definitely be it’s oversized label. Covering not just the main body of the bottle but also extending towards the neck, the label is an indeed interesting feature of the brand. But have you ever wondered why it was designed that way?
Well, as it turns out, it was just a misunderstanding. Here’s the interesting story. (the article continues after the ad)
When Dr. Johann Siegert died in 1870, his two sons took over the business. Wanting to expand the business’ operations, they decided to compete in many bitters competitions throughout the world in order to showcase their product’s quality.
One year, as they were about the enter a competition, one brother was in charge of designing a new bottle and the other of designing a new label. The problem is that they didn’t consult each other about the sizes and therefore, the label came out too big for the bottle. As it was too late for them to do anything about it, they entered the competition with their bottle covered in the oversized label. They lost but, one of the judges, told them that this is what you call ‘signature labelling’. He insisted that the brothers should keep the big label as it was the perfect branding – who else was crazy enough to add an oversized label into a bottle?
And so they did! They followed the judge’s advice and as of that day, all Angostura bottles were made and shipped with a “too-big-to-fit-the-bottle” label.