The $50m investment in Athletic Brewing provides KDP with an equity stake in Athletic Brewing that is comparable to other lead investors, namely TRB Advisors and Alliance Consumer Growth. KDP will have a seat on the company's Board of Directors.
KDP says the transaction represents its latest move into ‘rapidly emerging beverage categories’: following on from its acquisition of alcohol-free RTD margarita, G&T and mojito company Atypique in June this year.
Athletic Brewing was founded in 2017 by Bill Shufelt and John Walker and is a top-20 US craft brewer. In 2022, Athletic Brewing was ranked as the 26th fastest-growing private company in America by Inc. Magazine and was also named to Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential Companies" list.
Non-alcoholic beer in the US grew almost 20% in retail dollars over the past year, with the craft segment - where Athletic Brewing holds a 55% market share - far outpacing total category growth, according to Nielsen figures.
Non-alcoholic beer accounts for over 85% of total sales in the fast-growing category of non-alcoholic beer, wine and spirits, according to Nielsen: as an increasing number of consumers moderate their alcohol consumption.
"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 in the blurring of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic categories," said Keurig Dr Pepper Executive Chairman Bob Gamgort. "We look forward to partnering with the Athletic Brewing team to help them scale the business."
"We're thrilled to welcome Keurig Dr Pepper as an investor and strategic partner," Shufelt said. "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 accelerate our growth across North America."
Athletic Brewing’s portfolio includes more than 40 brews. Instead of using a single, industrialized dealcoholization step like most other non-alcoholic beers, Athletic has a process ‘more similar to true craft production’.
Outside the US, Athletic Brewing Company is also growing its presence in the UK, Canada and Australia.