Big Bev is betting on a nonalcoholic beverage boom.
What’s happening: Keurig Dr Pepper bought a minority stake in Athletic Brewing for $50M as part of a larger $75M funding round.
The cash injection will fuel growth across North America, while Keurig Dr Pepper’s multinational distribution will help it expand to international markets like Australia, Spain, and France.
What it means: While not necessarily health-promoting, nonalcoholic beer is on a tear as consumers discover the myriad of health benefits from drinking less — from better sleep and mental health to lower risks for chronic disease and cancers.
- Between 2016–2021, nonalcoholic beers sales grew ~70%, reaching $670M in annual sales
- In the past year alone, sales grew ~20%, with craft brews outpacing the rest of the category.
- NA beer accounts for over 85% of a nonalcoholic beverage market that also includes wine and spirits.
Few, if any, have had more success than the 2017-founded Athletic Brewing, currently holding 55% of the craft nonalcoholic beer market. To give perspective on its growth, in 2021, the brand became the 27th largest craft brewer (alcoholic or otherwise) in the US, producing 100K barrels.
Looking ahead: Traditional beer sales continue to drop, and up to 30% of younger generations say they never consume alcohol. However, Athletic Brewing CEO Bill Shufelt says his company’s beer wasn’t created as a 1:1 substitution for the sober-curious.
As the company continues its rapid rise, it’ll appeal to health optimizers, athletes, and the growing majority of consumers becoming conscious of how their own choices affect overall well-being.