This year the family owned, JÄGERMEISTER producing MAST company celebrates its 125 anyversary.
In 2002 the turnover of the "Jägermeister company was about EUR 220 Million.
Thats what the bosses like to talk about.
But about the circumstances how Jägermeister entered the market in 1935, and why old people think of Hermann Göring when they hear "Jägermeister"the Mast family keeps silence.
Its a story about a remarkable brand image change.
The archaic characters of the Brand name "Jägermeister", are no problem says Hasso Kaempfe, actual chairman of the Mast company, wich brought Jägermeister on the German market in 1935.
"During the American War in Iraq," says Kaempfe while comfortable leaning back in his armchair," many german companies had problems in the US, but not us."
Today you find Jägermeister even in Israel, where it gains more and more popularity among the young.
While the twenty-somethings think of party, when the hear "Jägermeister", the
80-somethings in Wolfenbüttel, hometown of "Jägermeister" think of Hermann Göring.
Its an remarkable and astonishing immage change of the "Jägermeister" brand.
Back n the 30s of last century, little lovely Wolfenbüttel became a stronghold of the NSDAP, aka Nazis.
In 1922 the first local chapter of the NSDAP outside of Bavaria was founded in, guess where, in Wolfenbuettel.
On Aug. 28 1926, Joseph Göbbels noted in his diary that he visited "a brilliant SA" in Wolfenbüttel. After 1933 wolfenbütel was the home of many Nazi-instituitions with the "Kraft durch Freude" (power by fun) organisation as its most popular.
Curt Mast, son of the company founder run the business since 1917. In the twenties he was as deputy for the conservative DVP ( Deutsche Volkspartei) in the local parlament. To keep his mandate he joined on May 1.1933 the Nazi-party ( memberID: 3183016). Three days later the city council nominated Hitler as honorary citizen:
original telegram text: "Die rein nationalsozialistisch zusammengesetzte Stadtverordnetenversammlung der im Frühlingsschmuck prangenden Lessingstadt Wolfenbüttel hat beschlossen, dem in unveränderlicher Treue verehrten Führer das Ehrenbürgerrecht der Stadt Wolfenbüttel zu verleihen."
In 1934 Curt Mast stopped his engagement in politics and put all his energy in deveolping the Jägermeister brand.
He choosed green as the color for his bottle. Green always had a double meaning in Wolfenbüttel, caus green is the hunters color. The city is surrounded by woods, Mast was an ethusiastic hunter with his own
hunting ground close to Hermann-Göring-Werke in Salzgitter.
Herman Göring was not only Reichs Home Secretary
but also a hunter, and on July 3 1934 his new "Reichsjagdgesetz" ( reichs hunting law) became legal. It arranged all hunters in hierarchical groups.
So called "Jägermeister" ( master hunter) existed already during the baroque period. Göring recalled that, and appointed 1934 the first "kreis and gau-jägermeister".
with himself on top of the pyramid as the
Furthermore he decided that every November all hunters of Nazi-Germany should come together in the forests around Wolfenbüttel for a big "Jaegermeister Party".
The Prime Minister was so thankful to build between Braunschweig and Wolfenbüttel the so called
"Reichsjägerhof Hermann Göring."
6 month after the new hunting law, Curt Mast applicated his new liqueur for a patent. The company was in deep debts, and the new liqueur was his last chance to recover.
He baptized his last hope
And all hopes came true. In 1938 the "Braunschweiger Zeitung" wrote that Jaegermeister is highly valued in all "deutschen gauen und allen deutschen schiffen" ( all german districts and ships).
Mast organised the Görings Hunting parties in the Reichsjägerhof, where a lot of Jägermeister was consumed.
The rumors among the old of the city of Wolfenbüttel go that Mast, who was in good relation to Hermann Göring, consecrated his liqueur to him, and that the german military called Jägermeister "Göring-Schnaps".
After WW2 the english miltary governor for the region Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel blieved Curt Mast that he never was a real member of the NSDAP and let him escape to build up the CDU in Wolfenbüttel.
Highly honered and decorated Curt Mast died in 1970.
Than Günter Mast came. He
is the son of Curt Masts brother. Who had a liaison wit a jewish woman during Nazi time, and escaped with her to Brazil, leaving behind his wife and son. ( alle schuld sei dir verziehen - der sätzer )
Günter Mast started to sponsore soccer, especially the 1.FC Braunschweig
( Braunschweig soccer club). Mast bought players, lead the club into the german first division and promoted it heavily to glue "Jaegermeister" on sport . He realised that the so far targeted hunters were just too few to make a profit. It was him who transformed a good running local company into a global player.
Die Toten Hosen - Zehn kleine Jägermeister
Today nothing in Jägermeisters marketing reminds to the nazi/hunting/soccer times. ( except the chars - der sätzer )
In 1996 the "Toten Hosen" ( dead trousers) a popular (former - d.S. ) german punk band had a hit-single with a song praising "Jägermeister". That was the breakthrough into a drugs&sex active target group. Now you find "Jägermeister on Rock concerts", so called "Jägerettes" enter the clubs and discos to promote the old herbal liqueur as a cool drink.