Monday, 20 May 2013

Old Beer Ads #7 - Hofmeister Lager (1983)

Lager was gaining popularity in the 80s, but had not yet succeeded in gaining the louty ascendancy it has today.  The big UK brewers wanted a slice of Carlsberg and Heineken's market and brewed their own brands along with getting the licences of "continental premium lagers".  In the belief that British drinkers preferred low-strength beers, most of these were rather low in ABV.  The business model was simple - knock up some adjunct-packed, flavour-free watery piss and bung a German-sounding name on it.  It worked for a time.

Hofmeister Lager was Scottish & Newcastle's attempt at this market.  For some reason, their ad agency cooked up commercials like this, starring cheek-faced bear George.  In an unlikely tale, here he leaves Bavaria to come to 1980s London in search of decent lager.  Yes, that's what I thought too.   These ads were stopped on the basis that a big, cuddly bear might entice children to drink.  How intoxicated the kiddywinks could have got on Hofmeister's 3.2% dishwater is open to debate.

The pissy-lager market is all but dead now, with only Skol of the major brands hanging on.  You can buy budget own-label supermarket lager, but at 2% what it's made from is anyone's guess.  Hofmeister itself died in 2003, an event so notable even the BBC website reported it.

One hopes that George himself was rescued by Animal Welfare, and was taken back to Germany.  He probably drinks Oettinger-Pils now.

1 comment:

  1. In the story of heineken, one of the 1st imported to the UK lagers, their reason for importing a lower abv product to England was UK tax. They didn't think 5% would sell at the price the tax would increase it to.

    At the time most domestic beer was also lower in abv than many punters knew and there was no requirement to publish abv or gravities.