HARTFORD—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) announced on Friday that Stratford craft brewery, Athletic Brewing Company, has been named “Murphy’s Innovator of the Month.” Founded in 2017 by Connecticut natives John Walker and Bill Shufelt, Athletic Brewing Company is the nation’s first brewer dedicated entirely to non-alcoholic beer. The founders of Athletic Brewing teamed up to tap into the growing trend of non-alcoholic beer that tastes like true craft beers because they saw an opportunity to impact millions of lives in a healthy way.
“This is Connecticut innovation at its best. Athletic Brewing Company’s non-alcoholic beer is a great, healthy alternative to traditional beers. And the company is creating jobs and fueling the local economy, while tapping into a growing market. I’m excited to highlight Bill and John’s great work at Athletic Brewing, and looking forward to watching this rapidly growing company continue to succeed nationwide,” said Murphy.
“During our brewery search, John and I looked all over. The state of Connecticut and town of Stratford were instrumental in us choosing the location for the nation’s first non-alcoholic brewery. They recognized the potential for positive impact and job creation and convinced us to dig in! They made permitting easy and made sure we knew of all the economic incentives for entrepreneurs in the state,” said Bill Shufelt, co-founder of Athletic Brewing Company.
Athletic Brewing Company employs 40 employees at their brewery in Stratford, and has seen tremendous growth over the past three years. The company’s beer is available in stores across Connecticut, and they have started shipping their products nationwide. Athletic Brewing Company grew their business 10x between 2018 and 2019 alone, and with only a few years in business, the company has seen their products sell out at stores and bars across the United States. Last month, Athletic Brewing Company was Whole Foods top selling beer in the Northeast. With Athletic Brewing Company, Bill and John believe they can positively impact the health and activity of millions of people by making all-inclusive beer for all situations without the alcohol. The company is also dedicated to the cleanup of trails and parks for future generations to come—donating 2 percent of all sales to trail and park cleanup.
Murphy believes entrepreneurship and innovation are the building blocks for a strong economy. In the U.S. Senate, he has introduced two bipartisan pieces of legislation to incentivize angel investors to put more money into startup companies – the Angel Tax Credit Act and the Helping Angels Lead Our Startups (HALOS) Act. Startup companies create an average of 2 million jobs each year.
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