Creative agency Thirst boosts global growth appetite with senior Stateside hire

A Glasgow-based creative agency that has helped build major international food and drink brands has moved to cement its foothold in America with the appointment of a high-profile, accomplished US director.

Adam Spriggs, an Ohio-based investor who has spearheaded new business development at design agencies for 15 years, has joined as a partner of Thirst whose client list includes global craft beer firm Brooklyn Brewery and Scotland-based outdoor pizza oven giant Ooni.

The agency was founded in 2015 by managing director Chris Black and creative director Matt Burns, and has gone on to work with well-known Scottish brands including Brewgooder, The Botanist Gin, and craft brewer Innis & Gunn.

It says international business has accounted for more than 40 per cent of its revenue since 2018, and a rebrand for Brooklyn Brewery’s Brooklyn Lager and Boston Beer Company – makers of flagship beer Samuel Adams – has helped accelerate its growth in the US, with recent client wins including premium canned cocktail maker Loverboy and the newly launched non-alcoholic wine Buzzkill.

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The firm said that on the back of its US expansion, it is now targeting £5 million turnover within three years, while it has begun a major recruitment drive in recent months to add to its team of 25. It also flagged 53 per cent year-on-year growth during the pandemic.

Mr Black said: “Whilst we’re more established in the UK, we’re still a hidden gem in America. This investment in the US will give us the opportunity to attract talented strategists, designers and account managers on both sides of the Atlantic.

"It’s our ambition to be recognised as one of the top branding agencies for food and beverage brands around the world, and a significant presence in the US is key to realising that vision. The speed of innovation and its global influence make America an incredibly exciting market.

Ohio-based hire Adam Spriggs says he believes Thirst 'could be one of the top design agencies in America - I’m ready to join them on their journey'. Picture: contributed.

“Adam will open new doors for us to continue building brands and campaigns that excite people, and make an impact commercially and culturally. That’s where our focus will continue to be.”

New hire Mr Spriggs first established a relationship with Thirst by collaborating with it on branding and packaging for Loverboy and Buzzkill, two companies in which the product innovation expert has invested as founder of The Angel Group, a syndicate of industry professionals who invest in early-stage consumer packaged goods brands.

Know-how

Prior to joining Thirst, Mr Spriggs founded design studio Nucleus Maximus, having worked previously in product innovation at the Sterling Rice Group, and in new business development at Interact.

From left: Thirst co-founders Matt Burns and Chris Black. Picture: Jamie Simpson.

He said: “Having invested in some of the fastest-growing brands in the US, ranging from Poppi and Siete to Bubble Skincare and Chubby Snacks, I get a first-hand look at the creative polish and toolkits these entrepreneurs need to break through.

“Through our collaboration on Loverboy, it was immediately evident to me that Thirst could deliver everything brands need to launch like a category leader and realise their greatest commercial potential. Working together on Buzzkill only reaffirmed that Thirst could be one of the top design agencies in America. I’m excited that we’ve tested the waters on a partnership and I’m ready to join them on their journey.”

The agency added that it has attracted top talent from UK agencies, including Chris Nokes, who recently joined as design director.

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