One of the many stories that came out of TechCrunch Disrupt in New York was the pitch made by celebrity Adrian Grenier, along with partner Justin Hawkins, former Nike designer. Somewhere between 10 and 10:25a.m. yesterday morning, according to the lineup, the two presented the idea for Churchkey Can Company, a hat tip to the days when people still ‘cracked’ open sealed beer cans with a churchkey. There were also demonstrations and sampling going on, after all this is a tech conference, and it is after 10a.m., right? Reportedly, CrunchFund partner, and former editor-in-chief Michael Arrington prompted people from the audience to come on up to experience Churchkey firsthand, which they happily obliged, getting their day started on the right foot, and getting a look at a non-tech product. Not that beer and tech aren’t synonymous, because they are, with many a product development, marketing strategy or startup idea probably having seeds planted from fruits (or hops and barley) of this century old brew.
According to the TechCrunch article, on stage Grenier says, “A lot of tech isn’t in the real world, but this is a human interaction. It’s a human experience…This is something you can pause and enjoy and take time with.” Obviously nothing like the scientifically, state-of-the-art designed to torpedo down your gullet ‘wide-mouth’ cans, or cans whose color changes signify your beer is the right temperature. Want to know how people could tell beer was the correct temperature back in the old days?
Back when you had to drink at the pace of the crack you made in your can, not the pace constrained solely by the laws of gravity, coming from a can designed by people who could probably work at NASA, but get paid better at Anheuser-Busch, Coors, or or whatever beer company is spending money on “can innovation”? It’s this experience, of being able to pause and take time with, enjoy and wax nostalgic with beer that might not be lost forever if backers from CrunchFund along with Adrian Grenier, Justin Hawkins and one who can only be identified as SEAinHD, who, as a hipster in Seattle, “Approves this message” get their way. After all, they say trends work in cycles, and PBR seems to have recently stabilized after it’s rise from oblivion, downfall, then rise again, then downfall.
One advantage is the celebrity backing of Grenier, who developed a loyal following from the hit HBO series, Entourage, who he can hopefully compel to become brand advocates for Churchkey Can Beer. And with Grenier at the head of the company, it’s spokesman, central figure advocating cracking frosty beer with a churchkey might be the next big trend in “can innovation”.
Distribution will start in the Pacific Northwest, with Portland and Seattle stores, but plans to spread out out to other key markets are in the works. They hope to get San Francisco residents a taste of Churchkey in the next 3 months or so, with Los Angeles, New York, and Boston also in their sights after that.