The Original Snake Bite: return of the church key

The O

Back in the day, when your grandparents wanted a beer at home, they couldn’t just crack one open and pour, they had to punch through the flat topped can with a sharp piece of metal. The crude device they used, called a Church Key, has fallen out of fashion in modern times as technology brought us the pull tab in 1959 and then, later, the push tab in the 1970s–essentially the same beverage can technology we use today.

Lately, however, there seems to have been a movement–whether it’s actually necessary or not–to attempt to create a can that pours beer even better. Coors, for example, patented the Wide Mouth Can in the late 1990s, Samuel Adams released their Boston Lager in “Sam Cans” in 2013 that, while they looked just like normal cans to me, actually featured an “opening [that] is placed further inboard on its wide top to allow for better airflow while drinking, which means the beer’s aroma, a major component of flavor, has a little more room to breathe.”

OK, sure.

And presumably, someone right now is likewise hard at work at every major brewery in the world trying to develop a beer can that pours better as well.

The thing is, there was a solution to this issue as far back as 1935 when Church Keys were still in use and it’s an answer your grandpappy would have probably happily shared with a room full of overpaid  R&D teams: Just punch a second hole in the fucking can.

It’s a simple solution and one upon which two guys from Missouri, Dan Peskorse and Kevin Kelly, are hoping you’ll agree. That’s because they’ve launched a kickstarter campaign for their product, The Original Snake Bite, which is ostensibly a modern take on the Church Key.

Built with 302 stainless steel, 6oz vegetable-tanned domestic leather, military grade Kydex Holster eyelets, nickel-plated hard drawn steel split rings, and presumably myriad other easy-to-regurgitate official-sounding  materials that all basically mean a piece of metal with a leather strap, the “100% Handcrafted & Assembled in St. Louis, Missouri” Original Snake Bite seems to be taking solid aim at a growing demographic of folks who like things to be artisinal and handcrafted but please don’t call us hipsters (There’s even a slightly cringe-worthy video on their kickstarter website that features not only a man bun, but also a broken down vintage truck, and even superfluous wood chopping. I half expected Mumford and Sons to show up).

That said, the Snake Bite actually is kind of cool and there’s something to be said for something that’s still produced entirely domestically. Dan and Kevin were nice enough to send me one and while I’m inherently averse to things that are overly market-y, I’m apparently not too culturally evolved to be attracted to a stylish piece of sharp metal and tanned leather that I can incorporate into my beer drinking. I mean, look at it! It’s got fucking fangs, man!

Of course, appearances and marketing aside, the important question is, does the thing actually work.

In short, yes.

As my Grandpappy Thaddeus “Thunder” Johnson could have told you, it’s not exactly rocket science to note that punching a second hole in the top of your beer can will allow more airflow and thus allow your beer to pour more quickly, but that doesn’t make the act any less genius. If you’re in the woods with a can of beer (as we all find ourselves from time to time) this will definitely allow you to pour beer into your suckhole faster and with less bloat-inducing consumption of air (probably).

Luckily for me, it also has practical uses for the woods-averse, condo-dwelling, urban elitist as well. I’ve been stabbing holes in all my cans since this bad boy arrived in the mail because I’ve found, as the video above demonstrates, “Snake Biting” your can of beer actually lets you easily pour a proper pint more quickly, allowing you to get back to your PVR’d episode of Storage Wars (not to mention the fact that I just feel super badass “Snake Biting” stuff). I’ve already field tested a Pompous Ass from Great Lakes Brewery, a Eureka Cream Ale from Bell City, and a Headstock IPA from Nickel Brook and I foresee some more field-testing in my future (especially since I get less grief for drinking if I say it’s for a story).

Field Test

In addition to acting as Church Key, the Snake Bite also acts as standard bottle opener and so, even though it’s had a long and useful lifespan, I’ve decided that the Snake Bite will be replacing my Flying Monkey’s keychain opener–which admittedly was far less handy at taking someone’s eye out in a bar fight, as rumour has it ol’ Thunder Johnson was fond of doing with his Church Key (RIP, Gramps).

Kevin and Dan’s kickstarter campaign hit 100% funded in less than 30 hours and currently has over $16,000 pledged (the initial asking was $5000), so it seems clear there’s a market for The Original Snake Bite. So with these things likely to hit north American markets sometime soon, what do you think? Would you buy a Snake Bite?

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