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Jägermeister scoops Supreme Brand Champion 2020 title

A loyal fanbase of creative minds, savvy innovation and a passion for reciprocating support to its followers have propelled Jägermeister to global stardom – and to the coveted position of Supreme Brand Champion 2020.

This year’s Supreme Brand Champion 2020 title goes to German bitter Jägermeister

*The Spirits Business‘ full Brand Champions 2020 report is available to view here.

What’s your favourite bitter?” isn’t a question that arises too frequently, at least not in the way that someone might ask about your favourite whisky or gin. But mention the name ‘Jäger’ and it soon becomes apparent just how iconic this particular bitter has become.

From the classic Jägerbomb to the refreshing hit of an ice‐cold shot, Jägermeister has amassed a global fanbase with the same secret recipe of 56 botanicals it used when it was founded in 1878. Bold marketing, ahead‐of‐the‐curve innovation and iconic branding have ensured that Jägermeister has not only retained its audience, but grown it exponentially.

This, combined with a one‐million‐case sales increase last year from an already sizeable volume base, means this year’s Supreme Brand Champion 2020 title goes to German bitter Jägermeister.

“I am especially pleased that we saw positive sales growth across nearly all regions,” says Michael Volke, CEO of parent company Mast‐Jägermeister. “And we can report significant headway in China in particular, where a rapid increase in demand led to an almost five-fold increase in sales in 2019.

“The brand already numbers among the top five international premium spirits in China. Our exceptional performance in the Chinese market is the result of our long‐term commitment and ongoing investments.”

Jägermeister also demonstrated its commitment to innovation last year, launching a swathe of products, from a freezer ice‐pack‐inspired bottle design to two new flavours. One of those was Jägermeister Scharf, described as the “hottest Jägermeister ever created” thanks to the addition of ginger to spice things up.

“Scharf targets Jägermeister brand lovers that seek new taste experiences in the shot occasion,” explains Volke. “We have intensified the hot head notes of Jägermeister for this product to demonstrate its versatility – with very positive feedback so far. Launched only in selected European markets, we see initial promising performance in established bitter markets, like Germany, the Czech Republic and Hungary.”

Hot on the heels of Scharf came Jägermeister Cold Brew Coffee, in September, blending the classic Jägermeister recipe with strong roasted Arabica coffee and a hint of cacao for added chocolatey richness. The global launch was supported by a £2.5 million (US$3m) marketing campaign, called New Mix New Beat, designed to reinforce the brand’s shot positioning and strong ties to music.

“It is an innovative line extension of our Jägermeister product range, also pretty much in touch with the latest trends,” Volke says. “At the same time, it underscores the premium character of the brand. Research confirmed excellent initial consumer response in our launch markets, the US and UK, and in global travel retail, indicating the long‐ term potential with such a great tasting Jägermeister innovation.”

Careful marketing has been a key factor in Jägermeister’s development, and music often plays a central role in its initiatives. Last June, Mast‐Jägermeister’s subsidiary, M‐Venture, invested in digital festival platform Woov, which aims to bring visitors, events, artists and nightlife together through the power of online.

Small but powerful: Jägermeister appeals to party-goers


Jägermeister also partnered with German musician Summer Cem, and created a music video for his song Pompa. The story was depicted through projections that were lasered onto 756 bottles, using stop‐motion animation in real time. Fans were then able to purchase a bottle through the online shop, “thereby rewarding the fans, but also creating a credible reason for the product placement”, Volke says. “The bottle sold out in less than 15 minutes.”

Germany, Jägermeister’s home market, remains its strongest region, followed by the US and China. But Volke stresses the brand has managed to build a “well‐balanced position” globally. “At the heart of our brand is a belief in maintaining the freedom of creativity that nightlife provides,” says Volke.

“With cities all over the world suffering from a rise in gentrification and legislation, the spaces for true creative expression are on the decline. It was a fundamentally new approach for us to support the night industry, which for so long has helped us.” For three months, Jägermeister created a space in Berlin where international artists and collectives could take a residency, free of charge. “This engagement gained global coverage and recognition from our audience as far away as China, and has further helped cement our relationship as the spirit of choice within the nightlife community of this thriving city,” Volke adds. “The potential proved to be huge, and we are seeking new opportunities globally to expand the initiative abroad.”

Volke says the Jägermeister fan is more about a mindset than an age demographic. But when it comes to communication, the target audience is primarily those aged from legal drinking age (LDA) to 29.

“The LDA audience tends to be low on time and money, but lives for the moment and unforgettable night experiences with friends,” Volke says. “That’s why everything we do is about creating meaningful moments of togetherness for them. We have a rich heritage in creating stand‐out experiences for our customers from our involvement in festivals and music, through to the parties we are involved in and the collaboration with artists we work with. That’s what gives us an authentic right to play in this space, and we are constantly finding new ways to support those who support us.”

It’s hard for any brand to picture the outcome of 2020 in light of the Covid‐19 pandemic. But in times of hardship, Jägermeister has been among the multiple brands that have stepped up to support the trade in any way they can. In April, as the pandemic took hold, Jägermeister launched its global Save the Night campaign to help the on‐trade during the crisis. The initiative includes financial aid for those without work in the on‐trade, as well as a series of online entertainment events designed to generate additional income opportunities or micro‐funding while most of the on‐trade, and entertainment industry, remains out of action.

“Our aim [for 2020] was to build on last year’s momentum, and continue that dynamic sales trend based on our successful strategy,” Volke says. “Due to the pandemic, we are now facing the same challenging situation as our whole industry, suffering the shutdown of the out‐of‐home channel. That is why we launched #SaveTheNight.

“As a family‐owned company, the solidarity that is so essential is a matter of heart to us, especially when times are hard. Apart from this, we are already preparing a strong rebound of the brand after the world has overcome this global crisis.”

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