Gen Z is so into sobriety that Athletic Brewing, America’s largest non-alcoholic beer brand, just doubled its value to $800 million.

The largest non-alcoholic beer brand in the United States just became more valuable thanks in part to Gen Z’s efforts to popularize sobriety.

Sports beerCo-founded by hedge fund trader turned CEO Bill Shufelt in 2018, it has nearly doubled its valuation to about $800 million in just two years following a $50 million equity funding round led by growth equity firm General Atlantic. The Wall Street Journal reportedCite sources from people who know the matter well.

An Athletic spokesperson said the company could not confirm or deny the new valuation.

Shufelt said in an email to the company that the new funding will be used to grow its team and fund renovations to its third U.S. brewing facility located in the San Diego area. LuckShufelt said the new facility will allow the company to double its brewing capacity in the United States.

The newly established company has outperformed established names such as Heineken and Budweiser will claim the title of top non-alcoholic beer brand by sales in grocery stores in the United States, according to a Diary With 258,000 barrels sold last year, Athletic ranks among the top 20 breweries in the United States. The company said its sales reached $90 million last year.

While more well-known beer brands focus only part of their operations on non-alcoholic beer, Shufelt says focusing entirely on the category has given the company an edge over its competitors.

“Non-alcoholic beer has historically been considered a very niche market, but we see a huge opportunity to add both occasions and demographics to the adult beverage world by opening up new days of the week for existing consumers and actively recruiting new consumers into the category,” Shufelt said. Luck in email.

In addition to General Atlantic, Athletic’s other major sponsors include beverage company Keurig Dr. Pepper, which invested more than $50 million in 2022, as well as celebrities like former NFL player JJ Watt, Momofuku founder David Chang and cyclist Lance Armstrong.

Athletic’s sales success and investor confidence in the brand is partly due to the rise of Gen Z. curiosity vs sober living and non-alcoholic beverages. On TikTok, #conscious and #sobercurious has amassed millions of posts with many influencers extolling the health benefits of their transition to sobriety. More than 60% of millennials born between 1997 and 2002, up from 40% last year, said they plan to cut down on alcohol consumption this yearaccording to a January survey by advertising firm NCSolutions. Athletic CEO Shufelt said 75 percent of the company’s clients are under 45.

While in recent years the emphasis on sobriety may have peaked in “Dry January,” Shufelt said summer is actually one of the company’s busiest times. The rise of non-alcoholic options would have been unimaginable just a decade ago, he told Diary.

“Ten years ago, there was no choice,” Shufelt said. “We had to completely change our product and marketing.”

The growing trend toward sobriety, or “conscious consumption,” has made alcohol-free beer the fastest-growing segment of the beer market, even as overall beer sales have declined due to changing tastes. As more young people cut back on alcohol, they’ve turned to alternatives, including non-alcoholic beverages and non-alcoholic wine, but also non-alcoholic beer, which is a huge benefit for Athletic.

“We’ve made non-alcoholic beer a positive choice and given consumers a product they’re proud to hold in their hands,” Shufelt said.

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