Jagermeister Manifest bottle portrait

Jägermeister Manifest: Designed to be drunk like a whisky. Ideally sipped not downed as a shot, according to the company’s Head of Raw Materials and Manufacturing Dr Berndt Finke

German drinks brand Jägermeister has unveiled a new premium liqueur that will initially be sold in bars and restaurants, and exclusively in the off-trade by travel retailer Gebr Heinemann.

The Moodie Davitt Report was in Berlin for the grand unveiling of Jägermeister Manifest this week, as the mono-brand company announced its first-ever premium line extension.

Jägermeister Regional Director of Latin America and Travel Retail Dietmar Franke said he was confident Manifest will be “a global brand”, although it will only be available in the high-end European on-trade and seven Gebr Heinemann airport outlets in 2017.

It will be sold in select bars, restaurants, hotels and clubs from next month, and in Copenhagen, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Vienna, Budapest, Berlin and Oslo airports from 1 April.

Franke also detailed plans to grow the company’s travel retail division. The travel retail arm contributes just 2% of the drinks brand’s total revenues but that is expected to double over the next ten years.

Manifest’s launch is clearly seen as a way for Jägermeister to drive those ambitions.

Franke was bullish about the growth potential of the travel retail channel and, specifically, his department which he said no longer relies solely on its distributor network.

“Five years ago we changed our route to market and we directly approached around a dozen operators globally,” he said.

“You will see an excellent presence in Europe, particularly in Germany. We are seeing double-digit growth right now.”

The new line, which will retail at almost double the price of the core Jägermeister product at approximately €30 for a 1 litre bottle, has been in development over the last four years at the business’s manufacturing facilities in Germany.

“We are a family-owned company, Heinemann is a family-owned company and we are both playing a big game in Germany”

Heinemann will be the exclusive Manifest partner in the travel retail sector for 2017 before the product is rolled out to other retailers and global markets.

Franke said: “We’ll launch on a premium level in the on-trade so we will already have a consumer base, and with Heinemann we will have a presence in top airports where this consumer base might be.”

Jägermeister Head of Travel Retail Europe Hans-Manuel Vogt added that the Heinemann launch partnership will be a natural fit for the drinks business.

“We are a family-owned company, Heinemann is a family-owned company and we are both playing a big game in Germany,” he commented.

“We are a leader in spirits in Germany, Heinemann is the leader in travel retail, and we have a business relationship that goes back to the 1960s.”

Heinemann store Berlin Schönefeld Airport

Heinemann at Berlin Schönefeld Airport will be among the German retailer’s outlets to stock Jägermeister’s Manifest from April 2017

Based on the original Jägermeister recipe but with a twofold maturation process, a greater number of botanicals than the traditional line and five macerates instead of four, Manifest is stronger in alcohol content (38% ABV not 35%) and has been designed to be consumed like a single malt whisky.

There is excitement within the seven-strong travel retail team and the wider Jägermeister organisation about the launch of Manifest, particularly because until now the company has been a mono-brand operation.

“We are really confident we are building in our segment a premium option that has never existed before”

“We are bullish about it because for all of us it’s the first brand we’ve launched,” said Franke. “This will be a standard brand that stays [in the market] and we’re very bullish about building it the right way in the on-trade and travel retail, which are premium channels.

“We will be looking to gain experience in our main markets in Europe, but I’m sure it’s going to be a global brand.”

He added: “It’s launched on a limited base [only 60,000 bottles can be produced in the first year] and in the next couple of years we will expand that limited base.

“We have a long-term approach to it and we are really confident we are building in our segment a premium option that has never existed before. We are a pioneer in the bitter segment.”

Jager at the bar

Lining them up: Jägermeister unveiled its new Manifest premium line at a special event at The Grand in Berlin

Promotional activity for Jägermeister and the new Manifest brand is set to increase in European airports – particularly gateways in the UK – in the coming months. This will include tastings, as well as guidance on optimum drinking temperature and cocktail recipes.

“We will focus more on quality and less on party,” noted Vogt.

“We are known as a party brand, but we’re starting to talk about our quality – which is a big difference.”

The Moodie Davitt Report also understands that digital development is very much on the agenda in Jägermeister’s travel division and the wider business.

“We are known as a party brand, but we’re starting to talk about our quality – which is a big difference”

Whether that involves new ways for customers to order and collect products bought at the airport or the launch of new delivery options remains to be seen, but what is certain is Jägermeister’s commitment to the travel retail sector.

“Duty free today is a premium discount – there are a limited number of brands in the shops and they are presented in a very nice way with attractive pricing,” noted Vogt.

“It’s a nice environment with beautiful shops open 24-7, and people are travelling around the world in a good mood with money in their pockets or there are business people who don’t have time to purchase goods elsewhere. For us – and for all premium brands – the travel retail platform is a perfect place to build a brand experience.”

Jager brand message

Up in lights: Jägermeister’s brand message was on display for all guests to see as the company unveiled its Manifest line in Berlin earlier this week