Athletic Brewing Co are America's first dedicated non-alcoholic brewery. Founded in 2017 by a talented group of brewers, the Athletic mission is to create great-tasting craft brews, without compromise. Craft Zero sat down with lead brewer Tyler Tucker to lean more about his part of Athletic.

CZ: Give us some background on yourself.
TT: I got started as a homebrewer 13 years ago. After two years and hundreds of batches, I decided I wanted to turn my hobby into a career. I started researching how to become a professional brewer, and dropped off my homebrew samples at every brewery in San Diego, California hoping for a break. That opportunity finally came over a year later, when I was offered the chance to train at Manzanita Brewing. In 2012, I made the decision to attend the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago, earning a degree in brewing science. Following graduation, I moved back to San Diego and accepted a position with Societe Brewing. After an amazing 4.5 years at Societe, I accepted a position as the head of R&D at Coronado Brewing and would later become the head brewer at a smaller brewery that closed during the pandemic. I joined Athletic Brewing in 2020 and am currently serving as the lead brewer at our San Diego brewing facility.

CZ: Why non-alcoholic beer?
TT: I was never really excited by the non-alcoholic beer options in the U.S. until Athletic Brewing hit the market in 2018. As I’ve aged, I’ve shifted away from enjoying alcoholic beers every night – especially since I’m trying to keep up with my two young boys. Wellness has become a bigger priority in my life, and Athletic has given me an opportunity to both create and enjoy great-tasting brews without compromise.

CZ: Do you still drink alcohol?
TT: As someone who is “flex sober,” I do still enjoy beers with friends and the occasional glass of scotch. However, I am reaching for our non-alcoholic beers more frequently, especially on weeknights.

CZ: What were the benefits you gained from lowering your alcohol intake?
TT: I chose to reduce my alcohol consumption to better align with my evolving lifestyle. I have two very active boys who love sports, camping, going to the beach and all types of outdoor activities. Keeping pace with them is definitely top-of-mind. The brews we make at Athletic support my lifestyle choices and allow me to be more present with my two sons.

CZ: How do you see non-alcoholic beers fitting into people's lives?
TT: At Athletic, we talk a lot about how non-alcoholic beers are bringing occasions back to the beer industry. Now drinkers can enjoy our award-winning craft brews every single night of the week – not just on Fridays and Saturdays – and still wake up the next morning ready to perform. I believe you will begin to see greater consumer adoption in the years to come, especially as the stigma around non-alcoholic beer being only for non-drinkers begins to fade. In fact, a recent Nielsen survey found that 82% of NA buyers are also purchasing beer, wine and spirits that contain alcohol.

CZ: Aside from Athletic Brewing, what are your favourite non-alcoholic craft beers?
TT: It’s been great to see so many new NA brands emerge onto the scene in recent years, and it definitely speaks to the growing interest in this category. I’ve sampled some of the brews from Big Drop and Barrel Brothers, and have enjoyed the Lyre’s Highland Malt and American Malt NA spirits.

CZ: When are you enjoying a non-alc beer (what occasions)?
TT: I enjoy our brews every day. Whether I’m at a birthday party, a backyard barbeque, or toasting friends after a San Diego Padres win, there’s always a reason to drink Athletic. We like to say that our NA beers are Fit For All Times, which means you can drink them anytime, anywhere. NA beer is here to stay!
October 28, 2022 — Amy Armstrong

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