Portland Startup: Churchkey Can Company Gets Tech Investors For Their Nostalgic Beer

This isn’t the first time that tech investors have backed a food and beverage startup. Tech Investors came out in droves to back Jonathan Kaplan, the creator/founder of the Flip video camera with his chain of grilled cheese restaurants called “The Melt”.

Entourage star Adrian Grenier and former Nike designer, Justin Hawkins have teamed up to found the Churchkey Can Company. Churchkey makes what’s being dubbed a “Pacific Northwest brewed Pilsner style craft beer”, however it’s not the beer itself that has everybody talking, but rather the can it’s packaged in.  Churchkey Can Company is putting their beer into a flat topped churchkey  opening can.

Before pull back lids you may remember having a can opener in the house that had a diamond shaped end on it. You would puncture the soup can on both sides and pour the soup our of one of the triangle shaped openings. The opposite opening made sure that the soup poured out smoothly. That’s the same idea behind Churchkey Can Company’s flat can. A style of beer can that dates back to the 1930’s.

ChurchKey Can Company’s flat top steel cans are made out of all recycled steel. Grenier and Hawkins turned to the Ball can company to manufacture the cans for them. According to some, the flat top can and the church key opening actually locks in the freshness.

“It’s about the joy of drinking good beer – from the people you drink it with, to where you drink it, and with this unique package, how you open it,” said Justin Hawkins, Churchkey’s co-founder and creative director. “We didn’t make these traditions, but are keeping them alive with Churchkey.”

More after the break

The beer is brewed in Seattle however Hawkins told nibletz.com in an email that:

“Our Brewery is in Seattle but we are more of a Pacific Northwest company as both the Home Brewers (creates of the recipe) and I live in Portland.”

The beer itself made it’s market debut in the Pacific Northwest less than two weeks ago. People of course are finding it nostalgic, but it has other benefits as well.

“Increasingly, beer drinkers are learning that cracking open a craft beer in a Ball can – whether in an aluminum or steel can – is like tapping a fresh keg … you get exactly what you expected,” said Gary Woeste, vice president, sales and marketing, for Ball’s metal food and household products packaging division, Americas. “With the can’s many advantages, including freshness, portability, high recycling rates, brand building graphics and beneficial economics to name just a few, craft brewers and consumers continue to choose cans.”

Although they haven’t released the information publicly, TechCrunch reports that they’ve heard that executives from Facebook, Zynga and the CrunchFund have invested with the company already.


Find out more about ChurchKey Can Company here at their website

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