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I’m always struck by the passion and energy of the team at Mast-Jägermeister, the family-held German drinks company that owns the great herbal spirit Jägermeister – the world’s ninth-biggest premium spirits brand.
In late 2018 I had the privilege of visiting company headquarters in Wolfenbüttel. There I discovered the brand’s entrancing production process, from botanicals to bottle, including the allure of the herb cellar (visitors are only permitted to see 25 of the herbs, the other 31 are part of the Jägermeister mystery).
As I noted during that visit, Jägermeister is a spirit that somehow straddles being a long-established traditional drink with an irreverent brand personality that constantly challenges the status quo and is very much favoured by the Instagram generation. Its embracing of social media maintains a heritage of near legendary marketing, including a host of cheeky, sometimes risqué but brilliant advertising campaigns through the 70s and 80s.
And while it was very much a craft spirit long before the term was popularised in the drinks industry over recent years, it is also very much a fun one, associated with good times, ice-cold shots and, by definition, nightlife. Jägermeister is a hugely popular on-premise drink, a favourite not only of bar goers and clubbers but also of master mixologists, bartenders and also – through association – of musicians and artists.
So when Head of Customer Development, Global Travel Retail, the ever-ebullient Hans-Manuel Vogt, told me he had a limited-edition presentation to show me dubbed #SavetheNight, I knew I was in for something special. This bottling marks the first time in Jägermeister’s long and proud history that the brand has adapted its front label and it’s all for a terrific cause.
The Save the Night Jägermeister bottle is raising funds for the nightlife community that has been hit so hard by the COVID-19 crisis. The associated #SavetheNight campaign is lending artists and mixologists financial support and a platform to continue working through the crisis.
Hans told me: “For the first time ever, the front label of our iconic liqueur is changed across countries and continents – without an additional commercial purpose. By doing this we want to emphasise the importance of stepping in and helping those who need support in these days.
“With its specific illustration on the front label, the bottle stands for hope for the best nights to come and solidarity with people who usually make the night. It is designed to send this strong message and to raise awareness for the critical situation of global nightlife. The additional funding of €1 million will go directly into nightlife. The money will be used to help artists, creatives, bartenders or club-owners who are facing never before-seen hard times and are struggling to make a living.”
The initiative is backed by renowned DJ/Producer Peggy Gou, who will consult on local community engagements with the company.
The bottle of Jägermeister Save the Night duly arrived at The Moodie Lockdown Bureau yesterday, together with a nice note from Hans and a reminder to drink it at -18 below, the temperature considered the perfect serve. Inside the box, he had kindly added a bottle of the new Jägermeister Cold Brew Coffee Herbal Liqueur, together with a stylish cooler bag.
The home freezer is no place for frozen vegetables and other household necessities when you’ve got a couple of liquid beauties like this on offer, so with a quick resorting, the latest additions to my liquor cabinet were popped inside to ensure optimum drinking that evening.
After a couple of glasses of lovely white Viognier (Laurent Miquel’s splendid 2016 Nord Sud from Cessenon-sur-Orb in Languedoc, south France – bought from one of travel retail’s great wine champions, Rodger Craig, owner of Inflight Initiatives) and the majestically rich Mazzano Amarone della Valpolicella from Masi in Italy, it was time to make my night as well as support #SavetheNight with an ice cold shot of Jägermeister, followed by a Jägermeister Cold Brew.
The Save the Night label may be different but the Jägermeister experience was the same – full-flavoured with gorgeous liquorice, dark chocolate, spice and citrus flavours that combine in a beautiful, bracing, bitter harmony.
As for the Jägermeister Cold Brew there’s no doubting its parentage. The original flavour is very much to the fore but there’s also the unmistakable bite of Arabica coffee and a nice hint of cacao to round it. Lovely served ice cold (as it is with milk, much as I used to drink Kahlúa in my faraway youth).
It was a fun tasting with a serious point. In Germany, here in the UK and through much of the world, the nightlife trade has been devastated by COVID-19. So with bars gradually reopening, why not treat yourself to a cold shot of #SavetheNight Jägermeister and toast the better times that are surely coming?