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Small Business

Brewing a Healthier Lifestyle

Photo courtesy of Athletic Brewing Co.

Picture this, you’re out for a jog and you’ve just finished that long set of stairs –– you know the one that makes you feel like Rocky Balboa? You’re dehydrated and you’re painfully aware that getting in shape takes way longer than a training montage. You reach for the drink you brought with you, tip it back, and instead of water you savor a fresh, hoppy beer right there on the steps of the city’s art museum (or wherever they may have actually filmed that scene). Sounds pretty great right? Well, next time you go for a jog, pack a can of Athletic Brewing’s IPA, and you can practically hear Eye of the Tiger as you taste victory. That’s because Athletic Brewing brews beer for a healthier lifestyle, it’s got all the flavor, foam, and character of a craft beer minus the alcohol.

Photo courtesy of Athletic Brewing Co.

Of course, you don’t have to only drink an Athletic Brewing beer while working out. Their beers pair nicely with a treadmill, yes, but they also go great with a barbecue or a night out with friends. Plus, they have a fraction of the calories of a traditional alcoholic beer, because traditionally most calories come from the alcohol ingredient. Bill Shufelt, coming from a finance background, discovered that most of the non-alcoholic options out there were flavorless or off putting. So, he teamed up with award-winning Brewmaster, John Walker, to create a craft beer that was uniquely fit for a healthy lifestyle. Athletic Brewing was born, and now the full range of Athletic beers can be found across the country. Determined not to take their success for granted, Athletic Brewing is able to donate over 2 percent of their total sales to charities and organizations that are doing good for the planet and their communities.

With so much focus spent on people trying to stay healthy in 2020, the non-alcoholic beer market swelled over 300 percent – and Athletic Brewing has over 60 percent of it. Determined to grow along with the market,  Athletic has attracted high-profile, athlete-investors like J.J. Watt, Justin Tuck, Lance Armstrong as well as investments from famed chef, David Chang, and TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie. 

Rosalie Kennedy, Marketing Director at Athletic Brewing Company, told The Business Download, “From the beginning, our investors have believed not just in our business potential but are true partners who understood our mission and the need for our beers. They know firsthand what our products add to people’s lives and what was missing until Athletic launched.” She continued,

“They understand our community because they’re part of it – they want to enjoy a great craft beer while enjoying time with their families, or they’re elite athletes who haven’t been able to drink for years because of training regimens, or they’re business leaders who need to stay at the top of their game. “

Rosalie Kennedy, Marketing Director at Athletic Brewing Company
Photo courtesy of Athletic Brewing Co.

For me, their award-winning beers are at their best when enjoyed in nature, and that might be some of the impetus behind their program Two For the Trails. By donating 2 percent of their total sales to outdoor and community programs, Athletic brewing is combining their love of nature and the environment. So far they’ve partnered with organizations like the American Hiking Society, The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, The Fort Clinch State Park, and many more

The name “Two For the Trails” comes from a saying Bill used with his brother. When they went for a trail-run, they could only bring two things, one in each hand. “At our core, Athletic Brewing is about helping people live active and healthy lifestyles,” Kennedy shared. “Trails are the foundation of an active and healthy community, and we know that when people have access to trails it increases both physical and mental health. We view Two for the Trails as the embodiment of our company ethos and have been a part of the Athletic story since day one.” Athletic recently expanded their Two for the Trails program to include a $500,000 grant to repair trails, construct new ones, and for trailhead improvements. 

John (left) and Bill (right) Founders of Athletic Brewing.  Photo courtesy of Athletic Brewing Co

This year Athletic Brewing prioritized inclusivity initiatives, revamping their hiring process, community outreach, and their internal audits to make their brand as inclusive as possible. They are dedicating an additional 1 percent of sales to their IMPACT program which focuses on transforming representation, opportunity, and inclusion in the craft beer industry. “Our approach to inclusion is built around two themes, intersectionality and breaking down barriers,” Kennedy explained. “First and foremost we will not trend chase, but work systemically to break down barriers for all who are traditionally under-represented in the craft beer industry, this includes women, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC individuals.” Kennedy shared, “Our intention is to have the beer industry and our company reflect what the American population looks like, a diverse melting pot of cultures.” Because everyone should feel free to enjoy a cold craft beer.

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