Non-alcoholic beer brewer Athletic Brewing raises $50 million

Company founder Bill Shufelt (left) and head brewer John Walker stand outside Athletic Brewing's alcohol-free brewery and production facility on March 20, 2019 in Stratford, Connecticut.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

Leading non-alcoholic brewer Athletic Brewing Company announced Tuesday that it has raised an additional $50 million in equity funding in a financing round led by General Atlantic.

The company expects General Atlantic to “ultimately make a significant additional investment,” Athletic CEO and founder Bill Shufelt told CNBC's “Squawk Box” Tuesday morning. The brewer plans to use the latest investment to increase production capacity and expand its offerings at global retailers to meet rising consumer demand for non-alcoholic beer.

“We are passionate about transforming the way modern adults drink and turning critics into believers. We are at the beginning of a long-term trend and we couldn’t be more excited to have General Atlantic on our side as Athletic begins its next phase of growth,” the company said in a statement. press release.

Athletic Brewing CEO on the Rise of Non-Alcoholic Beer: It's All About Occasion Growth

Athletic Brewing opened its non-alcoholic craft breweries in 2018 and has since grown to become the 10th largest craft brewery in the U.S. and the 20th largest brewery in the U.S., despite only offering non-alcoholic options, according to Brewers Association rankings.

According to NielsenIQ data, Athletic has a market share of over 19% in the non-alcoholic beer category and is responsible for 32% of total growth in the non-alcoholic beer category.

“Revenue has more than doubled since our Series D [funding round] “About 18 months ago,” Shufelt said on CNBC.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday The company's valuation also doubled with the latest round of funding, now standing at $800 million.

The company currently has two breweries in the U.S., one in Milford, Connecticut, and the second in San Diego. Athletic recently announced the acquisition of a third brewery in the U.S., also located in San Diego. Once operational, Athletic expects the facility to double its U.S. brewing capacity.

“Last year we sold over 3 million cases and over 100 million cans and generated over $90 million in revenue as a company. This year we are growing significantly more,” Shufelt said.

The company's success can largely be attributed to growing health and wellness trends, which are increasing consumer interest in non-alcoholic beverages.

According to recent figures, more than 40% of Americans say they will actively try to drink less alcohol by 2024. facts by NCSolutions. That number jumps to 49% when surveying millennials and 61% for Gen Z, according to the data.

Established beer companies such as Heineken, Constellation brands-possession of Corona, Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser and even from Diageo Guinness has also jumped on this trend and introduced its own alcohol-free beers.

“We want to give people beer that they can drink seven nights a week and feel good about,” Shufelt said. “We've invested over $100 million in our production, which has really created a quality differentiation that this segment has never seen before.”

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