Nonalcoholic beer maker Athletic Brewing raises $50M

Dive Temporary:

  • Nonalcoholic beer maker Athletic Brewing has raised a $50 million Collection C funding spherical led by Alliance Shopper Development and present investor TRB Advisors. This brings Athletic’s complete funding to $70 million, co-founder and CEO Invoice Shufelt informed Meals Dive.
  • It’s going to use the funding to assemble its third brewery, a producing facility in Connecticut, to assist East Coast growth. Athletic Brewing used its first funding spherical to construct its first brewery, and its second to buy a facility in San Diego, California, in 2020.  
  • Athletic is seeing “a surge in shopper demand and we’re actually arduous pressed to satisfy [it] presently, so we’re attempting to put for bricks for the long run,” Shufelt mentioned, pointing to Nielsen information displaying that gross sales of nonalcoholic craft beer have grown 430% year-over-year, with Athletic claiming half of the phase. Customers are more and more choosing nonalcoholic drinks as half of a bigger curiosity in well being and wellness. 

Dive Perception:

Whether or not they need to lower their calorie and sugar consumption or hope to keep away from a hangover, shoppers are displaying {that a} buzz isn’t essentially what a beer is about anymore. Demand has exploded, with gross sales of nonalcoholic beer up 230% since 2018 when Athletic launched, in line with Nielsen information cited by Shufelt

The roughly 40,000 barrels of beer that Athletic produced final 12 months weren’t sufficient to maintain tempo with demand, Shufelt informed Meals Dive. However this isn’t a brand new drawback for the brewer, which has encountered hassle with manufacturing capability because it was based.

“We have been shorting orders for years, sadly, [we are] fairly often out of inventory on our ecommerce web site, and have had important shortages on distributed orders too, so it is undoubtedly responding to a surge in class demand,” Shufelt mentioned. The corporate provides a spread of nonalcoholic beers, together with IPAs, stouts and sours, in addition to hops-infused flavored seltzers.  

Athletic Brewing has labored to set itself aside by way of its sponsorship of and partnerships with sporting occasions such because the Ironman International Collection, and lining up athlete traders together with Lance Armstrong and NFL gamers Justin Tuck and J.J. Watt.

The last word aim for the model, in line with Shufelt, is to persuade shoppers that nonalcoholic beer is a good suggestion each night time of the week, as an alternative of simply on nights when they might be trying to reduce on their consumption. The model has seen regular progress since launching, and raised a $17.5 million Collection B spherical final 12 months. It used the funds to buy its 80,000-square-foot brewery in San Diego and noticed its income develop tenfold throughout 2019 and 2020.

Based on Athletic Brewing, it has already outgrown the 12,000-barrel capability of its first brewery in Connecticut and expanded its San Diego facility by 125,000 barrels.

Quite a few different beverage makers have taken observe of shopper preferences and are launching new merchandise into the low- and no-alcohol house. That is as beer gross sales have slumped lately, with millennials particularly slicing their alcohol consumption.  

Boston Beer is launching a nonalcoholic Samuel Adams beer referred to as Simply the Haze that tastes like a standard IPA with none alcohol. Guinness launched a nonalcoholic model of its stout referred to as 0.0 within the UK and Eire in October 2020. Budweiser launched its first nonalcoholic beer referred to as Budweiser Zero in July 2020. Mother or father firm AB InBev is planning to transform 20% of its world beer choices to low- and no-alcohol choices by 2025. Heineken launched 0.0% MAXX in 2017 and provides a January Dry pack of 31 cans of nonalcoholic beer. And Molson Coors developed its personal nonalcoholic model, Coors Edge, in 2019.

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