Brands Report 2020: Cocktail bitters

If the bitters category was laid out like a Monopoly board then Angostura would have hotels on Mayfair and Park Lane.

The Trinidad and Tobago brand is used by bartenders all over the world and is without doubt the go-to cocktail bitters used in drinks such as the Old Fashioned and Manhattan.

Although there are more cocktail bitters brands coming to market the list of bestsellers has remained unchanged from 2019, suggesting little movement at the top end of bartending. However, things are a little different in the top trending list. The top two has always been the grand old brands of the category: Angostura and Peychaud’s. 

Angostura remains the top trending brand due to its total category dominance, however The Bitter Truth has risen to second through its increased bartender activations. The German brand recently paired up with Santa Teresa rum to create a cacao bitters specifically for the brand’s signature serves. This type of personalised product development is an interesting route for bitters brands because it creates a symbiotic relationship behind the bar between two products.

With 95% of bars attesting to stocking Angostura as one of their three most used cocktail bitters, and 83% suggesting it was their number one choice, we’re unlikely to see any changes at the top of the bitters tree soon. Unlike craft spirits and the continuing development of the movement across different categories, cocktail bitters move at a much slower pace. To many bartenders, classic cocktails equal Angostura and Peychaud’s – that relationship will take some unpicking.



The results of this report are the culmination of a questionnaire of 106 bars around the world, each cherry-picked to take part based on their performance in global bar awards. We aim to find out not only which brands sell best but also what’s trending. These two data sets give us an insight into the brands that are doing the most volume and the brands that are hot right now.

To read more on the methodology of the Brands Report click here.