Athletic Brewing Partnership

19 September 2023

Athletic Web

Market leading importer James Clay and Sons have signed an exclusive import and distribution agreement for the United Kingdom with Athletic Brewing Company, America’s leading alcohol-free craft beer brand.

The new partnership comes nearly one year after Athletic Brewing launched its flagship brews Run Wild IPA and Upside Dawn Golden in UK retail, illustrating the rapidly growing interest in the alcohol-free beer segment.

“It’s been a fast and fun turnaround to get us to this point. To be working with the 13th biggest and one of the fastest growing craft breweries in the USA is really exciting,” said Chris Mair, the Head of Business Development at James Clary & Sons. “The quality of Athletic brews stands out and the people are a real pleasure to work with. The alcohol-free beer category has been growing nicely in the UK with some excellent independent producers in the craft sector. We’re confident the addition of Athletic will give the whole category a significant boost and it’s a brand we’re very proud to get behind.”

Established in 1978, James Clay and Sons is the UK’s leading craft beer distributor, delivering a curated collection of highly acclaimed offerings from around the world to thousands of accounts across the UK. Athletic Brewing is just the third U.S. brewery — and the only American company dedicated to exclusively producing alcohol-free beer — in the James Clay and Sons portfolio.

“We’re excited to announce our exclusive partnership with James Clay,” said James Griffin, Athletic Brewing’s UK and EU Sales Director. “The demand for great-tasting alcohol-free beer continues to grow, and the incredible team at James Clay and Sons will provide Athletic with greater access to a diverse range of customers — including on-and-off trade retailers. They have a fantastic reputation and the infrastructure to support our future growth throughout the UK.”

The partnership is expected to strengthen Athletic Brewing’s distribution footprint across the UK, particularly in the On Trade. Athletic Brewing debuted its line of alcohol-free craft beers in the UK in 2021 and has been steadily expanding its presence ever since.

Customers in the independent On and Off Trade will be able to order cans of Athletic Brewing’s award-winning alcohol-free brews, including Run Wild IPA, Upside Dawn Golden and Athletic Alcohol-Free Lager from James Clay and Sons beginning in November.

Run Wild IPA is the ultimate sessionable brew at less than 0.5% ABV. It contains 65 calories and is carefully crafted with specialty malt and a blend of five Northwest hops. The result is an alcohol-free IPA with an approachable bitterness and classic piney, citrusy aromas with a subtle, yet complex malt profile.

Upside Dawn Golden is a refreshing, balanced, and gluten-free brew containing 45 calories and less than 0.5% ABV. It is made with premium Vienna malt and a combination of English and American hops which add subtle floral and earthy notes.

Athletic Alcohol-Free Lager is a crisp and refreshing brew,, completely reimagined. It’s classically simple but expertly crafted with only 25 calories, and 5g of carbs. Brewed specifically for the sport of life and all the good times that come with it.

Athletic makes over 50 different alcohol-free beers each year in a range of styles, including IPAs, goldens, and light and dark brews, among others. In the U.S., off-trade sales of Athletic brews are up over 92% over the last 52 weeks¹. Its flagship offerings, Run Wild IPA and Upside Dawn Golden, are the best-selling alcohol-free craft brews in America. Athletic also makes 6 of the top 10 best-selling alcohol-free craft brews in the U.S. and has over 50% market share of the alcohol-free craft beer category, according to NielsenIQ2.

Half of the UK adult population purchased a low- or no-alcohol product in 20223, and demand for these offerings at Tesco has increased by 40% in the last two years4.

“This category is expected to continue growing, and Athletic Brewing is well-positioned to support retailers with range, visibility, and staff training,” said Griffin. “We have the most robust portfolio of alcohol-free craft brews in the U.S. and have plans to introduce additional styles in the UK in the coming months.”

A pioneer in the alcohol-free craft beer category, Athletic Brewing was founded by Bill Shufelt and John Walker in 2017. The company has distinguished itself from competitors by developing a unique brewing process that allows it to fully ferment its brews to be less than 0.5% ABV.

Athletic Brewing owns and operates two large-scale breweries in San Diego, California, and Milford, Connecticut. Its Connecticut facility, which opened in mid-2022 and spans 150,000 sq. ft., is believed to be the largest dedicated alcohol-free brewery in the world.

¹NielsenIQ, Total US xAOC + Liq Plus + Conv, 52 weeks ending 7/15/23

2NielsenIQ, Total US xAOC + Liq Plus + Conv, CYTD ending 7/15/23

3IWSR: “Moderation trend drives demand for no-alcohol products in the UK

4Tesco: “No and low alcohol brews are now UK’s fastest growing beer varieties

For press inquiries, please contact:

Joe Dick | joe@jamesclay.co.uk

Chris Furnari | press@athleticbrewing.com

About Athletic Brewing

Athletic Brewing was founded in 2017 by Bill Shufelt and John Walker. It is America’s leading producer of alcohol-free craft beer and launched in the UK in 2021. Athletic has won dozens of prestigious brewing awards. In 2023, Athletic was ranked as the 4th fastest-growing company in the Americas by Financial Times. Athletic was also ranked as the fastest-growing U.S. beverage manufacturer by Inc. Magazine in 2022, and named one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential Companies.” Athletic operates two custom breweries in the U.S. and its ‘Two For The Trails’ initiative donates up to $2 million annually to protecting and restoring outdoor spaces across the globe. Athletic Brewing is proudly a Certified B Corporation™. Its full-flavoured alcohol-free craft brews are made in the USA and are available for purchase on https://uk.athleticbrewing.com/. Follow Athletic Brewing on Instagram: @athleticbrewingeu