Lets just face facts, Walkers make the best Salt & Vinegar Crisps and almost no American manufacturer knows how to make a decent version of them. The consequence of this is that I have to ship said product to the USA by the case.
nomenclature diversion: when I talk about crisps I talk about those thinly sliced deep fried potato snack invented in England and first produced commercially in London in 1920 (Smiths). Americans would call these Chips (as in the product made by Lays amongst others). Brits call something else Chips , which are not the same as French Fries which may or may not have originated in Belgium. Regardless of all of that, hopefully you know what I mean by crisps.
After the original unsalted plain crisps, Salt & Vinegar is only the 2rd flavor invented with Cheese & Onion being the first. All of this was in the early 50's thanks to the Irish Tayto company who were the first to work out how to infuse plain crisps with flavor.
Yet, all of the above doesn't answer why Americans are so bad at making Salt & Vinegar Crisps (or Chips). I don't have the answer but I suspect that it is in the vinegar. I recently had the chance to taste some new Organic Kettle Salt & Vinegar Chips from a company whose other flavors I have enjoyed and there is definitely something wrong. Looking at the ingredient list I see that they used white vinegar and that is probably it. Everybody knows that you put malt vinegar on fried potato products. Everyone that is except for most Americans.
Malt Vinegar isn't something that you see for sale in most places and while you can get a good bottle of Sarsons if you know where to shop, don't expect most places to even know to serve it with their poor attempts at Fish & Chips — but that is a whole different subject that I could wax lyrical about and how 99% of American restaurants just don't know how to make a good fish & chips. I am however pleasantly surprised when I'm in a restaurant in the US and they ask if I want malt vinegar with by chips (and by chips I don't mean French Fries).
OK, rambling over, I'll go grab a bag of Walkers and hit submit.