STRATFORD, Conn. & SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Athletic Brewing Company, the leading non-alcoholic brewer in the U.S., announced that they’ve closed a $50 million funding round. The round was led by their long-time investors and board members Alliance Consumer Growth and TRB Advisors. Also participating were athletes, entrepreneurs, and celebrity investors Blake Mycoskie, David Chang, Lance Armstrong, Darren Rovell, Justin Tuck, and multiple-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year JJ Watt. The group hails from many different backgrounds but is united in their deeply rooted commitment to Athletic’s brand, its mission, and values. Many of the partners have been immersed in the company since its earliest days. Other supporters include Tastemaker Capital, Benevolent Capital, and Wheelhouse.
The capital will fuel a major investment in a larger east coast brewery less than a year after the opening of their 150,000-barrel brewery in San Diego. The new location will add brewing capacity to keep pace with the surging consumer demand for Athletic’s high-quality, innovative non-alcoholic craft beers not only in the U.S. but also in a growing number of soon-to-be-launched overseas markets.
In addition to a new east coast brewery, Athletic will use a portion of the capital to strengthen its community, inside and outside of the company. They are growing their team through employee hires in key markets who will help build the brand and provide world-class service to their wholesalers, retailers, and customers. They now employ over 150 people in 32 states and D.C.
Athletic's Two for the Trails charitable giving program will also continue to expand, ensuring safe access to outdoor spaces for communities to get outside to be active and mindful. The company will also expand existing, new, and developing partnerships to connect with its consumer community, having recently signed multi-year marketing partnerships with IRONMAN, Spartan, Ragnar, USA Triathlon, and AVP Volleyball, among others.
In a rapid shift, the non-alcoholic beer segment went from having little innovation for a quarter-century to becoming the industry’s fastest-growing segment, up over 430% YTD. Leading the way, Athletic, which launched in 2018, holds nearly a 50% share of the non-alcoholic craft beer category. In 2020, the company grew almost 500% year-over-year for the second year in a row.
Athletic’s founders, Bill Shufelt and John Walker spotted an opportunity in the highly competitive beer industry to serve an unmet consumer demand and need in their own lifestyles. They brewed and launched Athletic for healthy, active, mindful adults who want to enjoy great-tasting, high-quality beer, across a variety of styles and flavors, without the alcohol, hangover, or impact on personal goals. Many of those consumers were foregoing beer entirely or at least on many potential drinking occasions, a rising trend, especially among Millennial and Gen-Z consumers.
“We’re humbled that both investors who have been with us from the beginning and a host of new partners have faith in our ability to continue operating and expanding as a brewery whose commitment to our customers has never wavered,” said Athletic founder and CEO Bill Shufelt. “This investment will allow Athletic to keep doing what we do best, brewing great beer for our customers, and giving back to the communities we care about.”
Along the way, Athletic has expanded the very definition of what beer can be, taking it from being a beverage mostly consumed on weekends during a handful of occasions, to one that, without the alcohol, can be enjoyed seven days a week, at any time of day, in just about any venue. The company’s new hoppy sparkling water brand, DayPack, launched in 2020 and sold directly to consumers, is also off to a strong start and fills a void for many consumers during daytime drinking occasions.
“Athletic is one of those game-changing brands that doesn’t come along very often and has the ability to massively change the landscape of non-alcoholic beer as we know it. We’re thrilled to build on our partnership with the Athletic team so that they can continue to serve a huge unmet need and grow their positive impact on their communities and the environment,” said Alyssa Ferenz, Chief Financial Officer at Alliance Consumer Growth, one of Athletic’s earliest advisors and mentors and a board member since 2019.
Cowen Inc. acted as an advisor to Athletic.
About Athletic Brewing
International Beer Challenge 2020 “Brewer of the Year North America,” Athletic Brewing Company is reimagining beer for the modern, active adult. Their great-tasting craft brews let you enjoy the refreshing taste of craft beer, without the alcohol or the hangover. You can enjoy them anytime, anywhere, and still be healthy, active, and at your best; it’s the very reason they started brewing them in the first place. With custom breweries on the east and west coasts, their lineup has earned accolades throughout the industry, even against full-strength beers, including the 2020 World Beer Award Gold medal for Run Wild. To top it all off, as part of the Athletic Brewing “Two for the Trails” initiative, 2% of all sales are donated to trail and park cleanups and maintenance. Additionally, as a part of their IMPACT Program, 1% of revenue goes to non-profit organizations that support positive impact and opportunity from the ground up in their communities.
Named by Fast Company Magazine as one of the “World’s Most Innovative” companies in 2020, craft beer fans can find Athletic Brewing’s revolutionary Upside Dawn Golden Ale, Run Wild IPA, and Free Wave Hazy IPA at major retailers in the U.S. They also ship directly to consumers at www.athleticbrewing.com, where craft beer lovers can purchase Athletic’s full portfolio of flagships, seasonal, and specialty beers and also join the company’s subscription offering – The Athletic Club.
Whether you've decided to cut alcohol out of your life for good, for a night, or just one drink, Athletic Brewing Company provides an option without compromises that you’re guaranteed to enjoy.