Spirit Hub, a Chicago-based private e-commerce company that sells craft spirits brands directly to consumers through its website and app, has hired retail, e-commerce, grocery and CPG veteran Jennifer Carr-Smith as a nonexecutive advisor. In her new role, Carr-Smith will advance Spirit Hub’s global expansion strategy by guiding the development and implementation of strategic partnerships within the retail and grocery space as well as facilitating customer acquisition programs to accelerate market growth.
“Jennifer has a stellar track record of managing retail organizations of all sizes and being a leader in the digital and e-commerce space,” said Spirit Hub CEO and founder Michael Weiss. “She has a history of driving rapid growth and transformation, making her the perfect addition to the Spirit Hub team. We are the first to build a proven business model that accommodates the on-demand nature of today’s consumer in a legally compliant way, and Jennifer’s expertise and professional relationships within the industry will enable us to explore new strategic avenues to quickly grow Spirit Hub.”
Carr-Smith brings to her new job more than a quarter-century of experience building, scaling and transforming businesses in such sectors as food and grocery, retail, and e-commerce. Along with her position at Spirit Hub, Carr-Smith will continue as president of JCS Advisory Services and keep serving as a nonexecutive board director for Full Harvest, Woolworths Group and Perdue Farms. From 2015 to 2017, she was president and CEO of Peapod, in which capacity she scaled the business in New York and bolstered the company’s operational performance and executive leadership. After that, she was general manager, SVP North America local at Chicago-based global e-commerce marketplace Groupon for a year.
“Craft spirits continue to rise in popularity with sales projected to exceed $8 billion this year,” noted Carr-Smith. “Spirit Hub has captured the market and leads the future of fully legally compliant alcohol e-commerce. Independent distilleries are the fastest-growing segment of the spirits industry, but they also face the most legal roadblocks to sell their products. I am thrilled to be working with Spirit Hub to develop strategic partnerships that expand distribution channels and present new opportunities for domestic and global expansion.”
Spirit Hub recently unveiled a global expansion strategy that lays out the company’s plans to operate internationally by 2022 and in every major U.S. market by 2025. Spirit Hub currently operates in the state of Illinois, with plans to expand to Florida, Michigan and Massachusetts by the end of this year. The self-funded company employs a network of proprietary technology and industry connections to offer customers comprehensive information on independent distilleries and craft spirits. Its business model provides independently owned distilleries with a legal path toward selling their products directly to consumers in new markets and building their customer base. Spirit Hub is now evaluating potential strategic partnerships to ramp up its national expansion strategy, including collaborations with national grocery chains to grow its distribution channels.