Howorth will team up with Andrew Marsden, her former counterpart at Britvic, which sells Coke’s arch-rival Pepsi in the UK. Marsden joined Hofmeister as chairman in July.
After spending 15 years at Coke, Howorth took a sabbatical in 2014. She was replaced by Bobby Brittain, who left the company this summer.
Howorth later departed the company. Since then, she has worked as a marketing consultant. She has invested in Hofmeister and will be a board director. Marsden has also invested in the company.
Richard Longhurst and Spencer Chambers bought Hofmeister from Heineken, which acquired it from Scottish & Newcastle in 2008, last year. Scottish & Newcastle predecessor Scottish Courage took Hofmeister off the market in 2003 after sales plunged from its 1980s heyday as beer drinkers switched to more "premium" brands such as Kronenbourg 1664. At the time, Hofmeister was a 3.2% ABV lager made in the UK.
The new product will be brewed in Bavaria by family brewery Schweiger.
It will be available in pubs nationwide from next week, with bottles also on sale on Amazon. A brand campaign will kick off next spring. Pilgrim has been hired to handle advertising and shopper marketing.
Hofmeister is widely remembered for its "Follow the bear" ad campaign, created by BMP DDB. Its 13-year absence from the market means it is likely to be unfamiliar to many younger consumers.
However, this makes it easier to relaunch the brand as a high-quality craft beer, Howorth told Campaign, because it meant consumers would view it with nostalgia but few preconceptions.
"It’s going to enter a sector of the market that’s really thriving, where there’s a predisposition for consumers to experiment," Howorth said. "They want to try new things – I think we’ll have no problem at all getting consumers to try such a well-loved icon."