Building an Alcohol-Free Craft Brewery | OYNB Podcast 045

One Year No Beer Podcast Episode 045 – Building an Alcohol-Free Craft Brewery With William Shufelt 

One of the things that people worry about when they consider giving up drinking is what they’re going to drink at events, at bars with friends, and even with dinner. What do you do when you want the taste of an alcoholic drink, but without the alcohol?

Nonalcoholic beers have been around for some time, but many people avoid them. There’s a perception that nonalcoholic beers just don’t taste as good as the real thing, but even if that weren’t the case, many people feel that there’s a stigma attached to ordering a nonalcoholic beer. But what if that weren’t the case? What if there was a nonalcoholic beer that was associated with cool people, great flavor, and a healthy lifestyle? Is it possible that people would be more willing to change their relationship with alcohol if they knew that a popular and great-tasting alternative existed? That’s what William Shufelt is trying to find out with his business, the Athletic Brewing Company.

“The biggest risk in my life wasn’t doing this and moving on this, the biggest risk was not doing anything and potentially leaving the one time I could have a positive impact on the world on the sidelines.”

William quit drinking alcohol six months before he got married. However, that didn’t stop him from wanting good nonalcoholic drinks. He describes being in Jamaica and walking to dinner with his wife, talking about the lack of good drink options that the restaurant they were headed to would have. That’s when it struck him that he should try his hand at making a good craft beer that was nonalcoholic. And with his wife’s encouragement, William got started right away.

The process wasn’t without its obstacles. William describes hitting a plateau in the progress on his brewery business. He explains that he was nervous about giving up a steady job in order to pursue this goal. However, William also says that his market research had a lot of momentum, and eventually he got past his fears and moved ahead with the project.

William talks about the work that went into creating his company’s nonalcoholic brew. He explains that the alcohol in nonalcoholic beer is traditionally burnt off at the back end, which damages the quality of the beer. He did extensive research to find out if it was possible to burn the alcohol off on the front end of the process instead, and eventually concluded that it could probably be done.

William made the decision to partner with a skilled brewer from New Mexico. They raised more money than they expected to raise, and with the help of their investor team, grew the plans for the brewery by about three times what was originally intended. They broke ground on the brewery on January 1st, and they’re now preparing for a national launch. Over the summer, William and his team will be attending Ironman races, marathons, and other events to promote their beer.

Listen to the episode to hear more about William and the Athletic Brewing Company, and about how William plans to use his brewery and premium nonalcoholic beer to make a difference in the world.


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Email William: [email protected]


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