The Athletic Brewing Revolution

August 20, 2019 In Retail Untapped

“Pioneering a revolution in non-alcoholic craft beer.” 

That’s the promise of Athletic Brewing Company, which has been at the forefront of the non-alcoholic craft beer space.

The brewery, which is based in Stratford, CT, makes non-alcoholic craft beers using high-quality, all-natural and organic ingredients. It all started after founder Bill Shufelt started to upgrade his health and lifestyle, working out more and paying more attention to what he ate. Alcohol became inconsistent with this way of life, so he said goodbye.

But cutting out alcohol doesn’t cut out the occasions in which alcohol is consumed. Shufelt missed craft beer during nice meals or social gatherings. He began to feel the gap in the non-alcoholic beverage market — and decided to do something about it. 

In the U.S., the non-alcoholic beer market hovers around or under 0.5% (which also happens to be the ABV of most Athletic Brewing Company beers). Most people that Shufelt spoke with said they avoided non-alcoholic options because of taste or stigma, but were also trying to live healthier lifestyles. 

On top of that, stats show that between 50% and 70% of millennial and Gen Z consumers want to reduce their drinking, and 40% of adults who can drink choose not to.

“This is not only a chance to have a huge positive impact, but it’s also a real economic opportunity,” says Bill.

Athletic built a strong and inclusive community around this market of consumers who weren’t being served by the beer category. It paid off: their Double Hop IPA sold out in 32 seconds this past June, according to NPR. And this community has room to grow up with the brand. Athletic’s data shows that 81% of their customers are 24-44, with the average consumer being in their low 30s.

Shufelt is excited to see what big beer brands follow. For every international brand that debuts a non-alcoholic option, the category and concept of moderation becomes increasingly acceptable.

For retailers, Athletic is a valuable brand to watch. They are leading the craft non-alcoholic beer space, and are taking on the functional beer category alongside players like Sufferfest. Shufelt notes that they are a great alternative to offer for many of the light beer occasions — sports games, parties, summer days at the beach. 

Retailers who get creative and put thought behind how to showcase these non-alcoholic brews can see a growing payoff. 

“This category is quickly going from an afterthought to the spotlight for people.” 

Get more in the video, and reach out for more insights and strategies about marketing and selling in the non-alcoholic beer category.