News - January 19, 2012

Lots of rounds of Berenburg

Osiris students are going to have to drink Sonnema Berenburg. The Leeuwarden student society has signed a sponsorship agreement with the company that makes the drink, a kind of gin flavoured with bitters.

A legendary TV ad by Sonnema Berenburg made fun of bragging students but now the drinks manufacturer is explicitly targeting this youthful market segment. Sonnema is concluding sponsorship agreements with student societies across the country, including Osiris. The Leeuwarden student society gets 450 euros to spend on Sonnema merchandise. 'Caps, scarves, posters, that sort of thing', says Lucas Oud, in charge of catering for the Friesian society. 'If we sell more Sonnema next year than last year, then they are prepared to do more for us. In exchange for that we won't be serving any other brand of Berenburg. Not a problem, we never did that anyway.'

Oud contacted Sonnema himself because Osiris is an enthusiastic consumer of the Friesian bitters-flavoured drink. 'We get through about three hundred bottles a year. To put that in perspective: that's about the same as wine.' Guys in particular drink Berenburg, preferably mixed with a coke. 'The lads sit there all evening drinking beer. Then just before they go home they say:  "One last Be-co".'

Oud says Sonnema started actively sponsoring student societies a year ago. The government is trying to discourage young people from drinking but Sonnema sees students as a growth market. In the words of Thomas van der Heide, sales promoter for Sonnema Berenburg: 'It's a fact of life that students drink vast amounts.'

Recently, the Student Town Leeuwarden foundation organized a battle between VHL, NHL and Stenden. The teams representing the three applied science universities had to think up a marketing campaign for Sonnema Berenburg that would make the reddish-brown drink cool among students. A VHL team won the public's prize with a campaign inspired by the legendary Friesian ice skating event through eleven towns, the Elfstedentocht. Anyone ordering 'A round of Sonn' gets a tray with eleven holes for putting the glasses in.