Not that we needed any more signs that non-alcoholic beer is surging, but the investment of $50 million into Athletic Brewing Company by Keurig Dr. Pepper is one more indication that the industry sees a lot more growth in the segment.
Athletic Brewing, founded in 2017 by Bill Shufelt and John Walker is the largest brand in the non-alcoholic craft beer category with a 55% share of market. Investors include a number of athletes and celebrities, including pro football players J. J. Watt and Justin Tuck, Momofuku founder David Chang, cyclist Lance Armstrong, and Toms Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie. The company established the first brewing facility dedicated to non-alcoholic beer in Stratford, Connecticut in 2018 and then purchased the old Ballast Point production brewery in San Diego just two years later.
Keurig Dr. Pepper seems intent on expanding into the (alcohol-like) non-alcoholic business. The Athletic deals comes just five months after they bought non-alcoholic ready-to-drink cocktail brand Atypique. With the two largest non-alcoholic beer breweries in the world, the company has capacity for growth. With fairly solid distribution in the US, the infusion of capital from Keurig will allow Athletic to expand their distribution reach internationally. Currently the brand has limited distribution in Australia, Canada, the UK, and parts of Europe, with plenty of potential to fill in those markets and add new ones.
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