Athletic Brewing Non-Alcoholic Beer Subscription Review
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an odd aversion to alcohol. I distinctly remember running out of the room crying during the Pleasure Island scene of Pinocchio and the apparently famous Tiny Toon Adventures episode “One Beer” left me scarred for life. Whatever the reason for this, I’ve never drank and am largely uncomfortable being around drunk people. Yet, I’ve still found myself taking an interest in the artistry of craft beer — and happened to marry someone who enjoys drinking such brews. That’s why I was excited to discover Athletic Brewing and try some of their non-alcoholic (meaning less than 0.5% alcohol by volume) beers.
After buying a six-pack from my local liquor store and later placing an order on their website, I discovered that Athletic also offered a subscription plan. So what’s this delivery service all about and what are the perks that come with it? Let’s take a look at Athletic Brewing’s membership program as well as my overall thoughts about their NA beers.
Reviewing Athletic Brewing’s Subscription/Membership
What is Athletic Brewing
Athletic is a craft brewing company that exclusively creates non-alcoholic beers (well, that and hopped seltzers under their Daypack brand). In addition to a standard roster of options, Athletic also regularly releases new styles, collaborations, and experimentations. While their brews can be found in select stores, there are also many online-only Athletic options and the company offers a recurring subscription plan for fans — which is what we’ll be covering in this review.
Pricing for Athletic
While a six-pack of Athletic may be less at local vendors, online, six-packs start at $13.99. However, most of the brews are $14.99 for a six-pack. Meanwhile, Daypack sparkling waters are $9.99 for a six-pack.
Outside of the subscription service, Athletic does also offer a custom variety case starting at $37.96 (for 24 cans). There’s also a Stork Bundle that includes 3 six-packs, The ABCs of Adventure baby board book, an Athletic onesie, and 12 months of baby milestone cards. This unique offering comes at a cost of $99.
Plans and perks
The primary benefit of Athletic’s membership is simple: you’ll get a discount when you sign up for recurring shipments. However, there are some other perks on top of that. Still, let’s start with the basics:
- Save 5%: Buy at least 2 six-packs
- Save 10%: Buy at least 4 six-packs
- Save 15: Buy at least 5 six-packs
Another benefit is that members enjoy free shipping on orders over $20 — which is much lower than the normal $50 free shipping threshold.
Elsewhere, as a member, you’ll have early access to certain limited-edition releases, enjoy exclusive merchandise as well as discounts on other items, and more.
Signing up for membership
Should you decide you want to sign up for the Athletic membership program, it’s a fairly simple process. First, you’ll click on the Subscribe tab at the top of the homepage. From there, after clicking “Subscribe Now,” you’ll be able to select which brews you want to start with. As you add selections, you’ll see the meter at the top show how close you are to the next savings tier while your subtotal displays below.
Something to note is that, while the standard Athletic styles are available to be added, there’s also a Limited Subscription Brew option. In this case, it will show you what the current limited option is — although adding this to your recurring will mean that you’ll likely get a different pick each time. Meanwhile, if you want to add other limited edition options that aren’t featured on the subscription page, you’ll need to add them separately as one-time purchases. Luckily, you can start your membership and add one-time purchases at the same time.
One minor downside I found was that, due to how the sign-up works, I wasn’t able to claim early access to brews or exclusive merchandise while placing my initial order. Instead, only after I fully set up my recurring plan was I able to purchase — which, by then, meant that I’d be ordering a separate shipment. Of course, with the lowered free shipping requirement, this wouldn’t have been a big deal, but I do wish there was a way to claim your membership instantly and begin taking advantage right away.
By the way, if you’re not sure exactly what brews you want, there are celebrity subscription plans. For example, with the JJ Watt plan, you’ll get Athletic Lite, Free Wave, Upside Dawn, Run Wild, and All Out while the Malia Manuel plan includes Upside Dawn, Run Wild, Free Wave, and two Daypack seltzers (Lemon-Lime and Mango). Lastly, the David Chang plan doubles up on Athletic Lite and includes Cerveza Atletica alongside Free Wave and Run Wild.
After you place your initial order, you’ll get an email from Athletic inviting you to set up your membership formally. This will then give you access to manage your subscription.
Managing your subscription
Once you set up your membership, it’s quite simple to make changes to your selections as well as set a date for your reorder. On the homepage, you’ll be able to see your current selections, which you can add to or change. You’ll also be able to add one-time products to ship with your next order,
Speaking of your next order, at the top, it will show when you’re renewal is set. Changing this is as simple as clicking on the date and using the calendar to choose a new one. Alternatively, you can simply skip a charge.
Next to that, you can also adjust the default frequency of your orders. While four weeks is the standard, you can move that up to two weeks or back to eight weeks. Regardless of which way you go, you can still alter your renewal date as mentioned.
Admittedly, the cancelation option isn’t too obvious. But, if you look closely under the “Add One-Time Products” option, you’ll see “Cancel subscription.” In the interest of transparency, I haven’t gone through this process personally, but it seems pretty easy once you find where it is.
My experience (and what I’ve tried)
Although I don’t have any frame of reference to say how Atheletic’s non-alcoholic beers compare to “real beers,” I have to say that I’ve enjoyed each of the brews I’ve tried so far. These include:
- Free Wave (Hazy IPA)
- Upside Dawn (Golden)
- Cerveza Atletica (Light Copper)
- Wit’s Peak (Witbier)
- Irish Red
- Skip the Snooze (Pilot Program, Dark coffee beer)
Of these, I think my favorite has been the Wit’s Peak, followed closely by the Upside Dawn and Free Wave. Granted, the latter two are far hoppier than the Wit’s was, but in a good way. Meanwhile, it’s really been interesting to compare different styles of beer, including the Irish Red and the dark lager-esque Skip the Snooze.
As I noted, seeing as I don’t drink, I really can’t advise people on how much these taste like the real thing. Nevertheless, my wife (who does drink and enjoys a variety of beers) has also been a fan of each Athletic brew she’s sampled. As a Guinness fan, she most appreciated Skip the Snooze but was also partial to the Free Wave. She was also impressed with the bright citrus flavor of the witbier option.
Turning to the delivery and subscription aspect, it’s all been smooth sailing so far. I really like how easy it is to adjust your reorder plan so I can mix things up. On that note, with Athletic releasing so many specialty brews, I also love that members enjoy a lower free shipping threshold if I want to nab some of these for myself before they disappear. That said, the $4.99 shipping price is pretty reasonable in my opinion, so those who don’t plan on reordering often may be perfectly fine without a subscription.
In terms of pricing, when I asked a friend how much he’d expect to pay for a six-pack of craft beer, he said around $15. Coincidence or not, that’s about what Athletic’s packs go for (before discounts or shipping are factored). Granted, this isn’t a direct comparison since there’s no alcohol in these brews, but I think it shows that, while Athletic is a premium product, it’s not unbelievably pricey either.
All in all, while I’ll likely stretch out my subscription to arrive less frequently, I do look forward to future Atherltic Brewing orders. Not only do I enjoy these brews as beverages but it’s also been fun trying different styles and discussing them with my wife. In other words, we can now share the hobby of craft beer — even if my brew choices are just a bit different than hers.
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