08 January, 2013

(Image: Shutterstock)

Bitters are making a huge comeback worldwide as innovative brands and classic cocktails push them into the limelight. Patience Gould reviews the category

Machine, which all but freezes the ‘herbal liqueur’, making it instantly palatable. This, together with its teams of Jägerettes who are on hand at key ‘A-list events’ and sponsored musical tours around the country throughout the year has made the brand a firm favourite with the über trendy.

The ground-breaking Tap Machine was first introduced in 1993 and more than 50,000 are now in place in bars, restaurants and many homes throughout the US. The second-generation Jägermeister Tap Machine was introduced some three years ago and this year the company unveiled the six-bottle cooler, which is ideal for those on tour and party events.

This type of innovative activity has spurred Jägermeister’s sales to almost 3 million cases in the US and made it the number one imported ‘cordial’ Stateside – and clearly the company is after more. 

In May this year Jägermeister announced its TV advertising debut and first 360° campaign. Under the Stronger Bond banner the campaign is unashamedly targeting the 21 to 29-year-old male demographic: “It’s a strong drink for strong men with strong bonds”.   

Seven men at the top of their chosen professions who personified the “untamed edge of Jägermeister” were picked. The ad showed the induction of five-time world champion bullfighter Rob Smets into the legendary circle, including an All-Pro fearless wide receiver, rock icon, world champion boxing trainer, NASCAR pit crew chief, famed street and tattoo artist and big wave surfer. 

In addition to this above-the-line initiative, on the digital marketing front a new website has been developed which not only includes relevant brand information but also goes behind the scenes showcasing documentary footage on each of the seven men in the Stronger Bond ad.

Jägermeister is now marketed in more than 90 countries and its annual tally is nudging the 7 million case mark, making it the number one herbal liqueur brand. 

Increasing exports

Exports continue to increase and account for just under 80% of sales compared to just under 60% in 2002. Outside the US the brand’s other leading markets include the UK, Italy, Hungary and Canada. Along with Russia, Brazil, South Korea and Spain, the UK is also one of its best developing strongholds.  

There Jägermeister is handled by Cellar Trends and continues to show “strong growth”, having something of a cult following. This success the company attributes in part to the Jägerbomb – a mix of Jägermeister and an energy drink, usually Red Bull – but in the main to Jägermeister’s perfect serve as an ice-cold shot, thanks to the Tap Machine, and this continues to represent the biggest growth opportunity.

 “Our research has shown that consumers who have tried Jägermeister served ice cold are more likely to repeat purchase,” says Cellar Trends’ Nicole Goodwin, UK group marketing manager for Jägermeister. 

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