The U.S. Angostura distributor says the production line ran dry in June, telling The Guardian in November, “There has been a shortage. You can’t just turn on and off supply of bitters. It’s not like producing bottled water – it’s a very delicate, intricate process.” Invented in 1824 by a German doctor and made from a secret recipe of herbs, barks, roots, spices and rum, bitters became popular in Britain as an additive for gin, partly to conceal quinine in tonic water. Today most serious cocktail makers can't do without them; as London bar owner Tony Conigliaro explains, “What bitters will do is stretch the rest of the flavours across the palate”.
I came across this post earlier this week and after reading a lot of articles across the web came to these two conclusions; one part of the problem to an inability to source bottles at the plant and the other is that the shortage is restricted to UK/USA currently. There are some articles that indicate USA will have fresh supplies in a couple of months but who knows.
My younger brother uses a fair amount of bitters, if he has cordial, he adds bitters. I don’t use it so much but I still love a dash of bitters. At the shops yesterday I picked up two bottles for myself and four bottles for Matthew. If the shortage hits Australia, we will be fine. If it doesn’t? well we have bitters for a while to come.