Athletic Brewing Company

Bottoms up

1 minute read

Nonalcoholic (NA) beer is becoming firmly entrenched in mainstream drinking culture, and Athletic Brewing is a big reason why. But when Bill Shufelt launched the company back in 2017, NA naysayers were everywhere. “We’ve been hearing ‘That will never work’ since before we launched,” he says. Undeterred, Shufelt and co-founder John Walker built a product, branding, and marketing plan designed “to create a movement rather than simply put a single SKU on the shelf.” Athletic’s lineup of IPAs, lagers, and stouts are certainly moving off shelves. With NA beer sales growth far outpacing the overall beer market last year, Athletic has become the top-selling NA beer in the U.S. Since 2022, it has nearly doubled its NA market share, passing high-profile products Heineken 0.0 and Bud Zero along the way. The company now brews the top-selling beer at Whole Foods, outpacing alcoholic suds. Not even the sky’s a limit. In 2023, JetBlue chose Athletic to be the first NA beer ever sold in-flight by a U.S. airline.

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