Hofmeister, the relaunched, revamped beer of the 1980s and 1990s, has been crowned Best Lager in the prestigious 2017 The Beer Awards run by the IWSC Group – the Oscars of the global brewing industry.
It is a major coup for a brand that was taken off UK shelves in the early 2000s after even the appeal of the famous George the Bear advertising could not make up for lagging sales.
The decision by a small group of beer enthusiasts to revive the brand after 14 years away has paid off in spectacular style. Not only has it beaten off multinational brewers from all over the globe to win the Best Lager trophy in the 2017 The Beer Awards, it is the first lager to be awarded five stars in the competition.
The new Hofmeister is completely different to the mass volume standard lager in its 1990s pomp. The brand still remains popular and well known to this day thanks to the memorable George the Bear TV advertising and “Follow the Bear” catch line.
To make the new Hofmeister relevant to the modern beer drinker it has had to grow up, mature and come back with both a new look and crucially new taste.
The new Hofmeister team have taken the brand back to where George the Bear was said to have come from in the original advertising – the Bavarian forest.
It has been revived and brought back for British beer drinkers as an authentic, craft brewed, 5% abv, Bavarian Helles lager. The style of beer made famous by the millions of people who flock to Munich every year for the Oktoberfest.
The new slow brewed, refreshing, low carbonated, easy to drink Hofmeister won over the beer experts that make up The Beer Awards judging team. Crucially all judging in the competition is done blind so the judges do not know the brands they are tasting making it a truly independent competition. The judges described the winning Hofmeister Helles lager as: “Bright, clean and fresh with a lightly fruit aroma. Very good drinkability.”
To be awarded Five Stars the beer must have scored 90 points or more and be seen as “setting the standard” for the rest of that category.
Now operating under the name The Hofmeister Brewing Company, its new team includes co-founders Richard Longhurst and Spencer Chambers, and former Coca-Cola marketing director, Zoe Howorth.
Longhurst explained why they wanted to relaunch Hofmeister. “We did not just want to bring back a famous beer brand. We wanted to re-invent it for beer drinkers who are looking for authentic, craft beers with genuine provenance,” said Richard Longhurst, co-founder of the Hofmeister Brewing Company.
He and fellow co-founder, Spencer Chambers, also saw a huge gap in the UK beer market for German beers, and in particular the easy to drink, refreshing styles of lager so common and popular in Bavaria, arguably the centre of the world’s brewing community.
Chambers explained why the new Hofmeister Helles lager style is so different to anything else on the market: “We can understand why the new Hofmeister lager has blown the Beer Awards judges away. Every keg, bottle and barrel of Hofmeister is made following Germany’s 1516 Reinheitsgebot Beer Purity Law which states only three ingredients can be used in the brewing process.
“It is produced by fourth-generation brewery, Schweiger, on the edge of the Ebersberger forest using local Hallertau hops, natural spring mineral water and barley from nearby Bavarian farmers, malted onsite at the brewery.”
Longhurst and Chambers believe the UK market has been crying out for an alternative to the German Pilsner, higher carbonated style of lager that have dominated the German beer category to date.
“British beer drinkers can now enjoy the authentic, refreshing, Bavarian Helles lager style enjoyed in beer halls in Munich, and Oktoberfest, down in their local pub,” added Longhurst.
Hofmeister was re-launched to the UK market in October 2016 and is now available nationally in over 150 pubs and bars, with an initial focus on the south of the country.