Jägermeister Legend Lives On Without Günter Mast and Sidney Frank

Distinctive Packaging, Commitment to Sports & Music….Even Urban Legend Built Brand Loyalty

It’s most likely the unique flavor blend of the 56 herbs, fruits, roots, and spices that becomes more of an ‘acquired desire’ and creates the  love for Jägermeister, the proprietary German Herb Liqueur.

Jägermeister’s  worldwide appeal reaches 80 countries and every continent and the brand has become more than a staple at bars and restaurants, it has become number eight on the list of the top 100 spirits according to Impact International. The United States consumes more than  Germany does now, and in 2010 over 85 million bottles were consumed worldwide.

Since it’s  introduction  in 1935  the company has been associted with the father-son team of Curt and Günter Mast. When  Günter passed away earlier this year at 85 years old he was celebrated as “one of the top businessmen that Germany has ever produced” and several press outlets paid homage to to Günter Mast  as a ‘marketing genius’ of a generation. Mast left the company in 1997, but the success of the brand will always be attributed to him.

The blend that became Jägermeister was formulated by his father Curt Mast, a small liqueur manufacturer who first created the spirited herbal elixir to sell to hunter’s in and beyond his local city of Wolfenbüttel, Germany.From the square green bottle in ‘hunter’s green’ to the name he borrowed from the then common title of Jagermeister, which was an accomplished ‘hunt master’, Curt Mast hoped to gain loyalty for his brand.

But it was his son Günter Mast that took Jägermeister to global presence. His innovative flair and marketing savvy wasn’t only rewarded by the emergence and growth of Jägermeister but his master stroke of innovation was in the invention and sell of football (soccer) shirt advertising.

He first proudly put the Jägermeister “stag’s head with beaming cross” logo on the local football clubs shirts in 1973, and it started a trend. Jägermeister has been associated with German football and displays advertising at most stadiums there. Sponsorship advertising introduced by Mast is now evident in most sports from players shoes and headbands to coaches jackets and headphones.

Günter Mast continued to find innovative ways to market and introduce in places other category brands dared to go but here in the United States  it was  Sidney Frank who changed the culture from seeing the brand as a medicinal spicy warmed  syrup to becoming the chilled shot of a new generation.  Sidney Frank was a lifelong game changer in the world of spirits who went from the ousted president of Schenley Industries to his own Sidney Frank Import Company.

He first had Jacques Cardin Brandy but when he obtained import rights to the strange named astringent herbal digestive liqueur, he promoted it as a hidden treasure from the black forest of Germany and as ‘the best drink in the world’.  Jagermeister didn’t officially get to the United States until 1974, but there are reports of German sailors who brought it to Fritzel’s European Jazz Club, their favorite bar in New Orleans as early as 1969.

Once Sidney Frank saw that Fritzel’s and other New Orleans bar owners were serving it chilled  with great success, Frank demanded that it be suggested and served iced cold and made it easy for retailers to feature it chilled as a shot that could accompany any party. The Jagermeister Chilled Shot machine revolutionized back bars and promotions while it reminded bartenders and consumers that Jager was the shot to party with.

When a story was written in a Baton Rouge newspaper that claimed that college aged drinkers thought Jägermeister was like ‘instant valium’ and wondered if the recipe had opiates, the brand went from 10 cases a month in the Louisiana State University college town to 1,000. a month.

Frank, knew that those rumors about the chemical makeup of Jägermeister were false as was the budding urban legend that one of the 56 herbs was…blood from the deer that was on labels, but he saw the curious myth as a key to sales. “I made a million copies of that story”, said Frank in a 2005 interview. Frank died in 2006 at age 86.

While the success of Jägermeister is legendary and acts as a marketing model for other brands, Sidney Frank’s greatest achievement may be the creation of Grey Goose Vodka which he built in just 7 years to the largest sale price for a brand, when he sold Grey Goose to Bacardi for over $2 billion dollars.

Sidney Frank  aligned Jägermeister with edgy attitude with a sexy twist when he first  introduced the ‘Jagerettes‘ a group of models who offered men a taste of ‘Jager’ in New Orleans and soon across America. Today there are an estimated 2,000 Jagerettes who visit over 15,000 bar parties in U.S. bars annually.

But many know Jägermeister through music and Sidney Frank first promoted it from the stages shows of Metallica, Mötley Crüe Pantera and Slayer.  Since 2002,  The Jagermeister Music Tour has given bands opportunities in every state in America.

The continued efforts of the German company Mast-Jägermeister ‘and the Sidney Frank Importing Company have made the brand one of the most profitable and popular brands at all levels of the beverage industry.

Jager Girls’, Music Tours, band sponsorships, active bar promotions and Sporting Event sponsorships along with the marketing of Günter Mast and  Sidney Frank has made Jägermeister synonymous with music, celebration and even a little mystery for generations to come.

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