Hirst, who was global sales director at Kopparberg for more than a decade, has joined Skinny to drive on- and off-trade sales across the UK and EU markets, alongside working with the wider team to support strategic brand development as sales director.
Skinny Brands, creators of Skinny Lager – a 4% 89-calorie lager – aims to create a new category in the drinks market by offering an alcoholic drink that is “full of flavour yet low on carbs and calories”.
Hirst, who also worked at Red Bull and Interbrew, told The Morning Advertiser: “What excited me about joining Skinny – alongside the co-founders who I get on with very well – is that the company is emerging from almost a zero base.
“[The brand] is about well-being and health around alcohol and low-calorie alcohol is just at the beginning."
The sales director added: “My plan is to become the market leader of this concept in that lifestyle area of beer. We are unique, there isn’t anybody like us and the sector is emerging.”
He also outlined exactly what experience he is bringing with him from his years at Kopparberg.
“[I will be bringing experience] from working with a brand for 12 years, a company that didn’t have any presence in the UK, building that business up to a large turnover, distribution and market leadership," Hirst added.
“I will be picking out the appropriate bits from that business, transfer it across to this business [Skinny Brands] and apply a similar framework and paradigm to it.”
Skinny Brands MD Tom Bell outlined how the brand is expanding rapidly and with Hirst's previous experience will ensure this growth continues.
He said: “Skinny Brands has already taken the market by storm – Skinny Lager is exported to countries including Italy, Norway, Russia and as far as Dubai in the UAE and Australia.
“These are huge successes but we want to continue driving this forward and ensure Skinny Brands products have a higher consumer awareness, starting with the EU and UK.
“We have a solid foundation of awareness and positive feedback from our customers – 92% of consumers who purchase Skinny Lager will buy our product again, which is a really telling statistic.
“With Hirst’s track record, we will keep this momentum going to secure more listings nationally and further afield. Welcome to the team!”