North American beverage firm Keurig Dr. Pepper (KDP) is wading further into the non-alcoholic beverages space with the acquisition of non-alcoholic craft beer manufacturer Athletic Brewing Co. A company release announced that KDP will spend $50 million to gain an equity stake in the startup that is on par with Athletic’s other lead investors, TRB Advisors and Alliance Consumer Growth.
“Athletic Brewing is a winning brand in a rapidly growing beverage segment. Our investment reflects our interest and ability to move into exciting white spaces, including the blurring of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic categories,” KDP Executive Chairman Bob Gamgort said in a statement. “We look forward to partnering with the Athletic Brewing team to help them scale the business.”
Under the terms of the deal, KDP will gain a seat on Athletic’s board of directors. The non-alcoholic beer brewer was launched in 2017 by Bob Shufelt and John Walker and now offers over 40 types of beer. Nielsen listed the company as one of the top 20 craft breweries in the US.
Sales of non-alcoholic beer grew by about 20% in the last year, according to NielsenIQ data. The products represent over 85% of total sales in the non-alcoholic beer, wine, and spirits category.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Keurig Dr. Pepper as an investor and strategic partner,” said Shufelt in the release. “Their team brings a tremendous amount of expertise and truly embraces our mission of brewing great-tasting non-alcoholic beers that are fit for all times. This investment will enable Athletic Brewing to further accelerarte our growth across North America.”
KDP recently acquired NA ready-to-drink cocktail brand Atypique.