Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Angostura Shortage May End Soon, But Orange Bitters Will Have to Wait

In January, Giselle Laronde-West, a spokeswoman for the Angostura bitters company in Trindad (and a former Miss World!) told the press that the shortage of the essential cocktail staple, which has plagued New York since last December, was near an end. I don't know. I still don't see it on the shelves of my local grocery stores or boutique food shops. And bar owners tell me they can't get their hands of any new stock. Recent reports have blamed the whole problem on a dispute with Angostura's bottle maker. The company says a new bottle supplier from China is on board.

Still, there may a light at the end of the tunnel. Hoping to find out something new, I went to the Angostura website. Among the company's many Pollyanna-ish press releases—no releases between Nov. 22 and Jan. 13 (wonder why!), and NO specific mention of the shortage anywhere!—I found a few tidbits of information.

On Jan. 13, it was announced that the Illinois-based Mizkan Americas Inc. had been chosen as Angostura's new U.S. distributor, the old distributor given the boot. Mizkan's contract became active on Feb. 1. A March 8 release, meanwhile, revealed that the Mizkan crew had visited the Angostura plant: "Senior Vice President of Sales for Mizkan Americas Inc., Michael Smith, and his team of sales and marketing executives, visited Angostura Limited last week to familiarize themselves with Trinidad and the company’s facilities for a better appreciation of the product they will be distributing in the United States."

Then this: "Miskan stated that already, thousands of cases of bitters have been shipped to the US shores and will soon find themselves on the shelves of many supermarkets, off licenses and community shops."

That sounds promising. I located Laronde-West for confirmation and she said, yes, "3,000 cases have been shipped around the US this month"!!! I repeat: !!!

However, here's a bitter twist. A source recently told me that, due to the whole shortage debacle, the wonderful Angostura Orange Bitters, which were only introduced in 2008, may not be coming back, a casualty of the god-awful mess. I asked Laronde-West about this. She said the orange will return, but "we are trying to get the Angostura aromatic bitters everywhere first. The orange bitters will follow."


frederic said...

There's no shortage of Ango Orange here as the Boston Shaker's shelves are stocked full of them, albeit with no regular Ango there or in the near future.

Mizkan Americas said...

Mizkan Americas is the exclusive distributor of Angostura Bitters in the United States. After a shortage of bitters due to a severe problem with the bottle supply in Trinidad, where bitters is manufactured, Angostura Bitters is in the US! Mizkan Americas has 6 container loads that have landed and are at our US facilities across the country. We began shipping bitters to distributors around the US in March and are working as quickly as possible to get product to all of our valued customers. Orange Bitters, a new Angostura Bitters offering, is also available in the US and will be shipped as ordered.