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June 14, 2024

Athletic Brewing to get $2M follow-on investment from CT Innovations; ranked top 10 craft brewer in U.S.

PHOTOS | STEVE LASCHEVER John Walker and Bill Shufelt are the co-founders of Athletic Brewing, which recently opened a new production facility in Milford.

Connecticut Innovations, the state’s quasi-public venture capital firm, has approved a $2 million follow-on investment for Athletic Brewing.

And that’s not the only good news for the rapidly growing non-alcoholic beer maker based in Milford.

Athletic Brewing was recently named the 10th-best producing craft brewing company in the U.S., based on beer sales volume. The annual top 50 ranking is put out by the Brewers Association, a trade group that represents small and independent American craft brewers.

Athletic Brewing was the only Connecticut company to make the top 50 craft brewer rankings.

Athletic Brewing, founded in 2017 by Bill Shufelt and John Walker, has emerged as an industry leader in the nonalcoholic beer space, and has expanded its presence in Connecticut and elsewhere.

It opened a new production facility in Milford in 2022, and still has a presence in Stratford, where the company was founded. 

It also has a brewery in San Diego. 

According to the most recent data available from Hartford Business Journal's Book of Lists, Athletic Brewing produced 170,000 barrels in 2022, by far the highest amount of any brewery in the state. 

The second-largest Connecticut brewery in 2022 was Two Roads Brewing Co., which produced 43,000 barrels, according to the Book of Lists. 

Athletic Brewing’s growth efforts received a major boost in 2022, when it received a $50 million investment from the publicly traded Keurig Dr Pepper Inc., which purchased a minority stake in the brewery.

In a statement, the company said it has not yet received or approved the investment. It also didn't say how it may use the funds in the future.

"Connecticut Innovations has a history of backing Athletic Brewing through both debt and equity investments, and we appreciate their ongoing support as we continue changing the way the world drinks," the company said. 

Athletic Brewing received another CI investment in the third quarter of 2023. 

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