Jägermeister plans to ramp up its push into the off- trade after setting up a UK subsidiary complete with 75 staff in Surrey.

The UK is Jägermeister’s third-largest market but it admits it underperforms in take-home. It claims to account for around 5% of on-trade spirits sales but less than 1% in the off-trade.

But it believes the new infrastructure will allow it to increase its presence in the retail market, backed by a £4 million marketing campaign and a range of in-store initiatives.

In September 2013 the German spirits brand set up a joint distribution company with Cellar Trends in the UK market, but it has now broken away to form its own business.

Mast-Jägermeister UK is headed up by chief executive Guy Lawrence, formerly of Russian Standard, Bacardi and Guinness. He urged retailers to create a “shot drinks” section on the spirits fixture to help younger adults find Jägermeister and other brands.

He told OLN: “In the off-trade we see a big opportunity to capitalise on the big night in and pre-party occasions.

“In the on-trade younger adults will buy a range of classic spirits brands and shots throughout the evening.

“In the off-trade, when people are going to a party they are buying classic spirits but not shots brands.

“Shots roughly account for 14% of volume in the on-trade and 1.4% in the off-trade so that’s a huge underperformance.

“There is a series of opportunities for retailers to improve sales. This business is often incremental.

“Managing out-of-stocks is crucial. Quite often Jagermeister doesn’t get enough space. On Thursday, Friday or Saturday night it will be out of stock.

“Stocking fractionals also helps – 25cl, 35cl, and the 4cl bottles are an interesting opportunity.”

CGA and Nielsen figures show that Jägermeister is the third-bestselling spirit in the on-trade after Smirnoff and Jack Daniel’s, but lies well outside the top 10 in the off-trade.

Lawrence, who joined Jägermeister in August 2013, said: “Jägermeister is up 12% in the off-trade MAT and we expect to continue and accelerate that.

“A good chunk of people came across from Cellar Trends so we can benefit from the insight they gained working on Jägermeister there.

“We have supplemented that with a team of people from various BWS backgrounds.

“We have a great team and we hope we can give the trade the best possible category and brand advice.”

Nicole Goodwin will take on a larger role at the new company and is promoted to marketing director, and Jan Tegtmeyer is now director of finance and administration.

Aidan Wilday joins from Miller Brands as sales director, while Rosarie Perry and Jonathan Dennys have moved from Bacardi Brown-Forman to become head of finance and customer marketing & insight controller respectively.