America’s Biggest Non-Alcoholic Beer Company Valued at $800 Million

Athletic Brewing Company, valued at $800 million following a $50 million fundraising round, makes craft beer that won’t get you drunk.

Photo of people holding cups of beer
Photo by Paloma A. via Unsplash

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When you think of unicorn companies, the first things that come to mind are delivery robots, payment apps, or self-driving trucks.

Then there’s Athletic Brewing Company, a potential unicorn valued at $800 million following a $50 million fundraising round Tuesday. It makes craft beer that won’t get you drunk. Calorie-conscious, alcohol-wary consumer sentiment could soon push it over the $1 billion hump.

Total Net Worth

Athletic was founded in 2017, not by tattooed Portlanders but by Connecticut-based former hedge fund traders. CEO and co-founder Bill Shufelt told CNBC Tuesday the company sold 3 million cases and made over $90 million in revenue last year.

That drew investors, led by growth capital firm General Atlantic, to Athletic’s latest equity financing round of $50 million, first reported by The Wall Street Journal. The round doubles Athletic’s valuation from 2022, when an investment from soda giant Keurig Dr Pepper took a $50 million stake. Beer industry and consumer trends are likely to make future stakes pricier:

  • Set against more and more Americans, especially younger Americans, telling pollsters they are less inclined to drink alcoholic and calorie-heavy beverages, US beer production and imports fell 5% in 2023, according to the Brewers Association.
  • Non-alcoholic beer, however, is showing some hops: Research by Nielsen found that, in the year leading up to August 2023, non-alcoholic beer, wine and spirits sales rose 31% to $510 million — with beer representing 86% of sales.

Ozempic Gold Medal: In addition to growing consumer aversion to alcohol, adoption of weight-loss treatments like Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro, and Zepbound — which Moody’s estimates could make $80 billion in annual sales by 2030 — could be another boost to producers like Athletic. In a survey conducted by Morgan Stanley earlier this year, more than half of drinkers taking obesity drugs said they were consuming less alcohol, with nearly 1 in 5 consuming none at all.