Thursday, January 11, 2024


GQ - "How Athletic Beer Won Over America"

"Before founding Athletic in 2017, Shufelt had been employed at a hedge fund, a gig that comes with a built-in work-hard, play-hard ethos. He was also big into endurance races, and decided to take a break from alcohol to feel and perform better.

It worked—only trouble was, all the attendant social responsibilities of his job and his life. “I’d never really thought of nonalcoholic beer except to make fun of nonalcoholic beer,” Shufelt says. “Until I was actually looking to drink good nonalcoholic beer.”

Ever the finance guy, Shufelt took a closer look at the numbers.

“It turns out over 30% of people [in America] don't drink at all, and almost 60 percent of people barely drink. That’s a ton of money left on the table, so the economic opportunity was obvious to me,” Shufelt says. “Everyone always thought the occasion base for nonalcoholic beer was one percent of one percent of the time. It's pretty much totally the opposite—most people are not drinking most of the time.”

At the suggestion of his wife, he quit his job to found his own nonalcoholic brewery. Getting a brewer to partner with him—now, that was the tough part. Shufelt endured dozens of rejections before he met Walker. The craft brewer had been making a living for the past 15 years in New Mexico, but was looking to move his family back to his home state."

Athletic Brewing Company (Jan. 2021)

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