Iconic Scottish lager set to make a return as a craft beer

Hofmeister, a Scottish lager which was made famous throughout the 80s thanks to its mascot George the bear, is set to be relaunched as a German craft beer.

Published 11th Oct 2016
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

The Hofmeister brand was a 3.2% abv pale lager produced by Scottish Courage - part of Scottish & Newcastle - from the 1980s to 2003.

The brand was marketed in the 1980s with a series of advertisements featuring a bear, George, with a shiny, yellow jacket and a pork pie hat, and the slogan ‘follow the bear'.

In 2003, the decision to kill of low-strength lager brands like Hofmeister was described by the BBC's Mark Wheeler as "the end of an era in British culture - and in advertising".

In the 70s and 80s, these lagers were the UK breweries' early attempts to capitalize on the growing demand for European beers and brands like Hofmeister, Harp and Skol were often described as "watered down versions of their continental cousins".

The rise of CAMRA and the campaign to push for better, more flavoursome beers, as well as the arrival of brands like Stella and other premium lagers saw the demise of Hofmeister and its ilk, as sales began to plummet, leading to Scottish & Newcastle's decision to axe the lager.

Trade magazine The Grocer has reported the lager is set to make a comeback after it was registered with the Intellectual Property Office at the end of August.

And according to online magazine thedrinksbusiness.com, the Hofmeister brand is to be transformed into 5% abv Helles lager, made in Bavaria by a fourth generation family-owned brewery nestled on the edge of Ebersberger Forest.

Now owned by a group of independent UK entrepreneurs, working with Marstons PLC, the people behin the brand's resurgence say the revamped beer will be available in bottles and kegs in bars and pubs across the country from as early as next month.

“As one of the most loved TV ads of the 80s, people remember George the Bear with great affection”, Andrew Marsden, the new chairman of Hofmeister told Drinks Business.

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“However times have moved on and so we are bringing back a more grown up brand which resonates with modern craft beer drinkers whilst still retaining the spirit of George’’

Spencer Chambers, Hofmeister CEO, added: “Now more than ever, we are experimenting and enjoying craft beer – with the craft beer scene in the UK continuing its explosive growth”.

“Hofmeister is iconic so it feels right to bring back the brand, but with an authentic Helles lager which appeals to our more sophisticated palates.”


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