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Loungers to list Hofmeister’s Bavarian Helles lager nationwide

The café-bar operator Loungers has signed a distribution agreement with Hofmeister in a deal that will see the beer listed in its 235 venues.

The decision, which will catapult Hofmeister back to being a national brand following its revival as a Bavarian-brewed Helles lager made to German brewing purity laws, fits with Loungers’ strategy to premium brands that differentiate the sites from others on the high street.

Hofmeister, which was brought back to the market in 2017 by Richard Longhurst and Spencer Chambers, was revamped Bavarian 5% ABV Helles-style lager and has since won a string of top beer awards.

Speaking of the new deal with Loungers, Hofmeister head of on-trade Alex Boyles said: “Loungers is among the most innovative and forward-thinking operators in our industry, we are thrilled and excited to be working together. They, like us, recognise there is a Bavarian-sized gap at the super-premium end of the beer category for those that seek a truly world class lager and a better beer experience.”

The Lounge brand, originally founded in Bristol in 2002 by Dave Reid, Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop, has since become one of the country’s fastest growing on-trade operators and is on course to hitting its target of 600 venues in the next 10 years across its Lounge (currently 197 sites) and Cosy Club (35 venues) brands, with around 30 new openings a year.

Alluding to the Hofmeister listing, Reilley explained: “We are really excited to have Hofmeister pouring in Lounge and Cosy Clubs across the UK. It’s an iconic brand that has been brilliantly reimagined resulting in a beer that is seriously good whilst retaining its sense of fun.”

The Loungers’ founders have said that they believe there is “scope for at least 600 Lounges across the UK” and achieved record revenues of £283.5 million in the year to April 16 2023 up 19% on 2022 and 85% on its 2019 figures.

Hofmeister will be available on the bar in all Lounge and Cosy Club venues by the end of September including a number with its standout branded ceramic fonts. As well as building sales and distribution, Hofmeister’s position in the market has recently been significantly bolstered by its senior management team that now includes former executives from the Ei Group, Greene King, Heineken and Camden Town Brewery.

Hofmeister’s premium strategy has seen it achieve over 530% increase in revenues and sales in the last two years and rack up over 25 major quality beer awards as it continues to target the most aspirational and premium venues in the country.

Chambers added: “We have positioned our Helles lager to sit at the top of the pricing ladder, in keeping with our award as the world’s best lager. We want to add real value to the hospitality industry, helping great operators balance value for money with ever increasing retail price points and also provide them with a point of difference in their world lager offering, which for the majority will be their most significant drinks category. We see the distribution deal with Loungers, a wonderful business that we admire greatly, as a great endorsement of what we can offer the UK’s best operators.”

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