We're Four Years Old!
Here at Athletic Brewing, we couldn’t be more excited to see the impact we’ve made.
For four years, the mission of Athletic Brewing Company has been to positively impact our customers’ lives and happiness while greatly impacting our communities and environment for the better. We’ve done this by brewing the absolute best beer we possibility can in an effort to shatter the perception of what non-alcoholic beer can be.
We’re ecstatic and humbled that our non-alcoholic brews have made waves and that non-alcoholic options are becoming a normal part of celebrations for the modern adult and opening up the world of craft beer to new people. The last four years have been a wild ride. We are proud of where the years have taken us, and we couldn’t have done it without you!
A lot has happened since our third birthday… What have we been up to this past year? We’re glad you asked! Here’s a snapshot of what’s been going on over the last year.
The Milford Edition
We’ve experienced quite the growth spurt over the last few years, and we will be the 27th largest craft brewery in the nation. Our unprecedented growth has led us to the addition of our third brewery, and the largest one yet!
The new brewery is located in Milford, Connecticut, not far from our very first brewery in Stratford. The Milford edition will feature a high-speed canning line, as well as a tap room, potentially bringing up to 100 jobs to the area.
When asked if this kind of growth was anticipated, Shufelt responds, “We did! John and I have always had enormous faith in the future of the category and how it fits into modern life. By simple math on occasions and populations, paired with the enormous trends of wellness and mindfulness, it makes sense that a non-alcoholic beer that could be enjoyed any time and any day by anyone would have a big place in society. And we think we're just getting started.”
But that’s not to say that founders Shufelt and Walker had it all planned out perfectly from the start. The nonalcoholic beer industry barely existed when they started, after all.
“While we've always had confidence in where Athletic and the category are going,” says Shufelt, “we can't possibly claim to have accurately laid out all the details on the path. We've made plenty of mistakes and had a lot of fun along the way! We can't wait to share this new brewery with our team and the world.”
Shufelt goes on to describe his favorite moments and what he feels after everyone leaves the brewery for the evening and he’s able to walk around in the semi-dark space. “The bustle is done for the day, and I do one last spin through the breweries and just enjoy how cool and still unthinkable it is to have these amazing breweries.”
It’s Official! We’re a Certified B Corp!
What does that mean?
Using our business for good is something we’ve always taken seriously. Certified B Corporations™ (B Corps) are businesses that meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. It is a tool to drive positive change in our economic system to impact all stakeholders- not just shareholders. We are assessed on how our business benefits our workers, communities, customers, and our planet. The certification doesn’t stop at the assessment- it encourages us to continually improve our operations through benchmarking and goal setting with education and networking.
Which basically means we’re doing good things for our employees and the world.
Athletic Brewing was founded on values that align with those of B Labs; Quality, Inclusion, Innovation, Integrity, and Community. We are always striving to strengthen those core values as our company grows. The company aims to be a force of positive change and lead by example through our Two for the Trails and IMPACT programs.
Not only is this an exciting achievement, but it’s also meaningful because we now get to join a community of companies that embody the same ideals and whom we have long admired. We get to join the ranks of breweries such as Allagash Brewing, New Belgium, Hopworks Urban Brewery, and more. “These breweries have inspired us all to do better across the board over the past couple of decades,” says Shufelt, “and to be able to work alongside them, with them, and to be able to learn from them is invaluable for us as a team and for the impact we can make in the world.”
Certification is the first step in our commitment to being a B Corp. It is an incredible achievement for Athletic to become a Certified B Corporation™ and the team looks forward to the long-term impact this will have on our business and the planet. Our goal is to excite and encourage other companies to follow suit: To be open, honest, accountable and never give up on making the world a better place for generations to come.
“Having an incredible internal team that can expose our whole team to the opportunities B Corp projects and metrics bring means that we will have many more individuals holding the torch of progress high in all the things they do inside and outside of the company.” says Shufelt. “ I do love seeing the impact we can measure, but I am equally excited by the impact we cannot see and that will live on in perpetuity.”
TIME100 Most Influential and Brewbound Craft Brewery of the Year Awards
An unexpected honor of the last year was the receipt of several awards for our craft brews and business ethic. We were named one of TIME Magazine’s TIME100 Most Influential Companies of 2022, and we also received the Brewbound’s Craft Brewery of the Year award.
The TIME 100 Most Influential Companies list is assembled by TIME and highlights businesses that are making impactful differences around the world. To create the list, TIME takes nominations from their global network of correspondents and from across sectors, including healthcare, technology, entertainment, and other industry experts. The nominations are evaluated based on a variety of factors, such as innovation, leadership, and ambition.
"Athletic has led a shift towards mindful drinking without sacrificing quality,” says Shufelt. “Thirty percent of US adults drink no alcohol and of those who do, 30 percent drink less than one alcoholic drink a week. Consumers want great tasting, refreshing craft beer without the alcohol or hangover and Athletic has proven time and time again that we will pave the way in the industry."
TIME Journalist Amie Ducharme writes, “Unlike many of its zero-proof competitors, the resulting company – nonalcoholic beer brand Athletic Brewing Co. – is actually competing with booze giants.”
We’re honestly as surprised as Ducharme! Being ranked amongst companies like Apple, Disney, and Moderna came unexpectedly.
“Athletic’s success and this amazing recognition from TIME wouldn’t be possible without the support of our legion of drinkers who refused to compromise,” says co-founder and Head Brewer John Walker. “We brew [non-alcoholic] beer that our community loves to drink so that no one who seeks to live well has to sacrifice great taste and high-quality to skip the downsides of alcohol.”
We also made waves in the beer industry by receiving the Brewbound Craft Brewery of the Year award, with the publication writing, “The non-alcoholic beer maker has taken a stigmatized segment of the beer market and transformed it into a growth sector that is creating new occasions for the beer category.”
As exciting as these awards are, Shufelt and Walker often reflect on themselves and what they’ve built. “Perspective is hugely important to maintain,” explains Shufelt. “As has been chronicled so well over history, the moments of success are only fleeting specific moments in time, but the journey is where all the enjoyment and meaning is. We just love what we're doing, we love who we're doing it with, and are excited for the challenges of every day. It's really cool for our teammates to have the incredible work we are doing in all departments recognized with those awards though.”