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Athletic Brewing closes on US$50m equity financing round

Athletic Brewing, the biggest non-alcoholic brewery in the US, has closed a US$50 million equity financing round led by General Atlantic.

Athletic plans to use the new capital to drive continued long-term growth, including through the recently announced purchase of a third US brewing facility and the ongoing global expansion. The move also sees investor General Atlantic taking a seat on the company’s board of managers.

Speaking about the financing, Athletic Brewing co-founder and CEO Bill Shufelt said: “We’re significantly expanding our West Coast capacity to meet increasing demand for Athletic beer. We are passionate about transforming the way modern adults drink and converting critics into believers. We’re at the start of a long-term trend, and we couldn’t be more excited to have General Atlantic by our side as Athletic begins its next phase of growth.”

Describing the business’s plans for the future, Atlantic Brewing managing director and global head of consumer Andrew Crawford explained: “We intend to leverage our international platform and capabilities across technology, digital marketing, and merchandising to help the business achieve its potential.”

General Atlantic vice president Harrison DiGia pointed out: “General Atlantic shares Athletic’s excitement for the future of the non-alcoholic beer market. We look forward to working with the Athletic team as they continue to expand their extensive portfolio and lead further innovation in this dynamic category for years to come.”

Athletic currently operates custom brewing facilities in Milford, Connecticut, and San Diego, California. The investment from General Atlantic, alongside other key investors, closely follows the brewer’s recent acquisition of a second San Diego brewing facility, formerly known as Ballast Point. Plus, last September James Clay and Sons has signed an import and distribution deal to bring US alcohol-free beer from Athletic to British pubs and bars, gaining the brand access to 5,000 UK venues.

According to the brewer, over the next 18 months, Athletic is planning a series of renovations and site improvements at the new facility which will include the installation of a new packaging line and enhancements to the brewhouse, cellar, and lab to meet the company’s strict food safety and quality standards. Once operational, Athletic expects to double its US brewing capacity.

Athletic Brewing has grown from one of the smallest breweries in America, producing just 875 barrels in 2018, to a top 20 US brewery that sold over 258,000 barrels in 2023.

The latest financing round now values Athletic Brewing at US$800m, according to reports via the Wall Street Journal which identifies the ongoing growth potential of the non-alcoholic beer category.

Speaking to the drinks business about this claim, Athletic Brewing: co-founder and CEO Bill Shufelt said: “Our revenue run rate is up over 100% since the close of our Series D in late 2022. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect a significant step up in valuation for this round. However, we are not disclosing our current valuation.”

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