Altoids are a popular brand of breath mints that have been in existence since the turn of the 19th century. Altoids are produced in Great Britain by Callard & Bowser-Suchard at Bridgend, Wales. The history of Altoids actually dates back to the reign of King George III. The brand was created by a London-based Smith & Company in the 1780s but eventually became part of the Callard & Bowser company in the 1800s. They are still advertised as "The Original Celebrated Curiously Strong Peppermints".
Altoids come in small tins that many find handy for a variety of uses, including storage of small paraphernalia. Some report that an Altoids tin can be fashioned to be used as an emergency camping stove. They have also been used to create pinhole cameras, house small amateur radios, and even iPod battery packs.
The story of Altoids can be found on thin pieces of paper that come inside of each tin.
Altoids mints are currently available in the following flavors: peppermint, wintergreen, spearmint, and cinnamon. A limited edition of ginger mints and licorice mints were also created. Limited edition sets of tins are also available. The first displayed artists from Altoids' then-newly-formed "Curiously Strong Art Collection" and was a set of 3. The second (more recent) featured slightly-altered pictures of images from long ago (muscle man, young boy and devil woman, all holding the tins). The 3rd and current limited edition set featured 3 very interesting pop culture choices - two of the minor creatures from the Frosty the Snowman / claymation holiday specials (including the 'heat miser' being), as well as the more popular icon Curious George. The Curious George tins in particular were immensely popular and sold out at many locations.
The company also makes other candies - sours - in round tins (tangerine, citrus, raspberry and apple sours), though these are different from mints. More recently, the company has introduced a line of chewing gums. The flavors of these include the regular ones peppermint and cinnamon, as well as two newer ones : cherry and sour apple .
The current newest flavor is another in the sours line, passion fruit. A vague heart-shaped design on the circular, purple-tinted front prompted speculation it was timed for a Valentine's day release.
Of the Altoids range, only the original peppermint flavor is sold in Great Britain; the other varieties are produced for export only, primarily to the United States.
Tins of peppermint Altoids are still marked "Ent. Stationer's Hall", because of the former requirement under the Statute of Anne that copyright be "entered at Stationer's Hall" (i.e. registered with the Stationer's Company). This requirement ceased in 1912, but the mark remains.
Ownership: Callard and Bowser-Suchard was sold by Beatrice Foods to Terry's of York in 1982, which was then acquired by Kraft General Foods International in 1993. Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. ("Wrigley's") of Chicago agreed to purchase the C&B and LifeSavers units from Kraft in November 2004 for $1.5B.