This month our marketing director, Zoe Howorth, talks about how carefully targeted activity and marketing is helping re-invent the new Hofmeister
"Back in the day to get a foothold in the super competitive big beer brand market you had to hit the public between the eyes with all you've got. From a major TV campaign that was as funny as it was memorable, backed up by nationwide poster campaigns and a sales force capable of taking the beer to every pub, bar and restaurant in the country.
"Today things are very different. The beer category may, if anything, be even more competitive, but there are, thankfully, far more subtle, but equally effective ways of getting your beer out in to the market, but crucially in ways that are far more targeted to the right outlet and the right consumer.
"The big custard pie approach where the public at large, whether they drink beer or not is aware of your brand, is no longer relevant or needed.
When we decided to bring the Hofmeister beer brand back to the UK market after 13 years away we knew we were stepping in to a very different beer category.
"It's all about personal discovery and story telling. People now actively want to discover new beers, ones made with love and quality ingredients, and will search out places which serve good beers in the right way.
"When we decided to bring the Hofmeister beer brand back to the UK market after 13 years away we knew we were stepping in to a very different beer category. We also recognised that Hofmeister itself had to have grown up, matured and returned as a very different animal to how it made its name as a mass, high volume beer brand in the 1980s and early 1990s. The Hofmeister bear is still very much at the heart of the brand encapsulated by our tag line, "For great lager...follow the bear."
"We wanted to take the bear back to where George was supposed to have come from in the infamous TV advertising of the late 1980s. For Hofmeister to be relevant to today's pubs and bars, and the customers that go to them, it had to have a very different story to what is currently being told by other beer brands.
Helles lager is ideal for what the UK beer market and consumer is looking for
"Looking closely at the UK drinks market, be it for beers, wines or spirits, it is clear there is major consumer demand for refreshing, quality tasting drinks that people are prepared to spend just a little bit more.
"When we analysed the gaps in the beer market, in particular, there was a clear opportunity to develop the authentic German beer category and, in particular, the Helles lager style that is the heart of the Bavarian beer scene, made world famous by this month's Oktoberbest.
"Helles lager is ideal for what the UK beer market and consumer is looking for in that it follows a slow brewing process that results in a lighter, more refreshing, drinkable style of lager.
"Our Hofmeister beer is made by a fourth generation craft brewer, Schweiger, on the edge of Bavaria's Ebersberger forest. The beer is made in accordance with the 1516 Reinheitsgebot Beer Purity Law that means only three local ingredients can be used: which in Hofmeister's case means Hallertau hops, natural spring water from an underground lake beneath the Ebersberger forest, and barley from the farms that surround the brewery.
"But to really get that message across to consumers we have to give them the chance to taste the beer and understand it for themselves.
Which is why we are focusing the bulk of our marketing activity on experiential, face-to-face opportunities to taste the beer in pubs and bars. Every time we take on a new account we look to host a pop-up tasting and sampling event which gives the bars and pubs a chance to offer a new event and fun experience for their customers. We want to give them every chance and opportunity to really make Hofmeister work in their outlets and introduce the refreshing Bavarian Helles lager style to their locals.
"Which is also why we are looking to build the Hofmeister brand outlet by outlet, town by town, region by region. This step by step approach means we are able to focus our resources on really working hand in hand with every new pub or bar that puts their trust in the brand to list it.
"After all the pub sector and the suppliers they work with are built as much on relationships as they are the beer we are all trying to sell."