Canada’s Partake Brewing rides non-alcohol wave in the US
Calgary-based leader in the non-alcoholic beer space, Partake Brewing, is expanding across the border thanks to strong demand, as it seeks to extend its US footprint.
In December 2020, the company launched its range of Pale, IPA, Blonde, Red, and Dark lines, plus limited seasonal editions into the US in a handful of states: Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington.
The reception to its low-carb craft beers – which have a calorie count of just 10-30 per can – has given Partake the confidence to widen distribution to include southern California, Colorado, Connecticut, eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, Texas, Virginia, Washington DC – and nationally online.
Ted Fleming, Partake Brewing’s founder and CEO said: “We are proud to work with both our retail and distribution partners to redefine the non-alcoholic category. After an accelerated year of sales growth, the addition of these important US markets gives us an opportunity to meet the growing interest and demand for non-alcoholic offerings.”
That demand is not expected to ease anytime soon. Earlier this year, a report released by London-based wine and spirits analyst IWSR pointed to volumes of no- and low-alcohol products growing 31% by 2024. The buoyant no/low category is dominated by the no/low beer and cider category at 92% of the market.
IWSR notes what it calls “a moderation trend sweeping across key global markets” which is bringing with it increased demand for reduced alcohol, or alcohol-free drinks. And while Germany is the largest no/low alcohol market by volume, it contracted by -5% last year, due to the reliance of the no/low beer segment in the on-trade at bars and restaurants.
Meanwhile the next largest market, the US, surged by 30% in 2020 and Partake Brewing is riding that wave, supported by a nine-strong beverage distribution network.
At one of those distributors, Penn Beer, president and COO Nick Funchion said: “We’re seeing many consumers opting to make healthier choices and seeking a non-alcoholic beer option to complement their current alcohol consumption habits.”
Partake – which picked up $4 million in a Series A funding round in September led by CircleUp Growth Partners – is now available in more than 5,000 US retail locations including Total Wine, Whole Foods Pacific Northwest, Wegmans, BevMo!, Ralphs, Vons, and Pavilions.
The Canadian brewer was established in 2017 after Fleming had a diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease which led him to give up alcohol and turn, instead, to non-alcoholic beer to maintain his social connections and interactions. When those products did not meet his exacting standards for taste he decided to brew his own range of craft beers.