Athletic Brewing, A Non-Alcoholic Superstar | The Well


Welcome to this week’s edition of The Well, where we dive deep into the stories behind the drinks that are shaking up the industry. This time, it’s all about Athletic Brewing Company, the non-alcoholic (NA) beer brand that’s redefining what it means to enjoy a brewski without the buzz.

The Story of Athletic Brewing

In the world of craft beer, where hops are king and IPAs reign supreme, a Connecticut upstart named Athletic Brewing has been busy rewriting the rulebook – and it’s not even tipsy doing it. Founded in 2017, in a world where beer traditionally spells B-O-O-Z-E, Athletic dared to ask, “What if we skip the alcohol?” Crazy? Maybe. Genius? Absolutely.

Here’s the kicker: while traditional craft beer sales are doing the hokey pokey of uncertainty, thanks to everything from wallet-busting inflation to beer bellies going out of style, Athletic’s non-alcoholic brews are partying like it’s 1999. With a growth spurt of 25.2% in the last year, these guys are the cool kids in a school where NA beer is still the new kid on the block, making up less than 1% of beer consumption. Talk about punching above your weight.

Athletic Brewing’s jump from No. 27 to No. 13 on the Brewers Association’s Top 50 is like the nerdy kid in high school suddenly becoming prom king – it’s unexpected and a little bit awesome. As the first NA brewer to crash this party, they’re proving that skipping the alcohol doesn’t mean skipping the flavor. Even the bigwigs like Keurig Dr Pepper have tossed $50 million into Athletic’s hat, and when you’ve got celebs like J.J. Watt and David Chang hanging in your corner, you know you’re not just brewing beer, you’re brewing buzz.

But wait, there’s more! Athletic isn’t just brewing beer; they’re brewing a revolution. They’ve got the eco-friendly, health-conscious beer lover covered with their Certified B Corp status and ‘Fit For All Times’ campaign. Their growth? It’s like watching a rocket ship take off – nearly 500% year-over-year, and they’re strutting their stuff on Time’s “100 Most Influential Companies of 2022.” Athletic Brewing is less about cracking a cold one and more about cracking the code to a healthier, more sustainable beer-drinking experience.

The masterminds behind this sober sensation? Bill Shufelt and John Walker, the dynamic duo who looked at the beer world and said, “Hold my beer – actually, hold my non-alcoholic beer.” Their mission: to brew an NA beer that stands toe-to-toe with its alcoholic brethren in taste and experience. Their story is one part innovation, two parts determination, and a generous splash of refusing to play by the boozy rules.

Athletic Brewing isn’t just setting the bar; they’re reinventing it. In a craft beer scene full of predictable plots, they’re the plot twist nobody saw coming. They’re the reminder that you can be the life of the party without the hangover the next day. So, here’s to Athletic Brewing – the brand that proves sometimes the best buzz comes from shaking things up, and the only thing you’re left nursing is your sense of humor.

Why I Love Athletic Brewing

  • They’re aromatic, bubly, and the colors are in hues of vibrant golds and coppers.
  • They hit the spot when you drink them cold and freshly opened. Non-alcoholic beers can lose their bubbles faster than alcoholic ones.

Ryan McCann
Growth & Marketing, Saucey

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