Adrian Grenier and his beer startup Churchkey crack open morning brews

It’s fairly common for drinks to be had at tech conferences, but this morning beer startup Churchkey got things started a little earlier than usual by cracking open brews on-stage at 10:30 a.m.

Churchkey Can was started by actor Adrian Grenier and former Nike designer Justin Hawkins after the two talked at a dinner party about the old way beer used to be cracked open — by using a “churchkey” to tap a fully sealed can. Now the two are taking their beer to the public with backing from the tech community.

The two spoke today on-stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York. CrunchFund partner and former TechCrunch editor-in-chief Michael Arrington came out and prompted audience members to come up and try the beer. Naturally, no one complained about getting a free beer to get their day going.

While it’s not inherently tech, Churchkey is a startup and finds an easy relationship with tech-heads, many of who have come up with brilliant ideas over drinks. It’s also getting attention because it has a celebrity in tow, and Grenier has fans from his many seasons on HBO’s Entourage and a few other projects. Grenier could make more money acting, but he loves the idea of creating something.

“A lot of tech isn’t in the real world, but this is a human interaction. It’s a human experience,” Greiner said on stage. “This is something you can pause and enjoy and take time with.”

The company has not revealed its list of investors, but CrunchFund has at least provided some funding.

Churchkey beer is starting with availability in Pacific Northwest with Seattle and Portland stores, but it will try to spread out to several other markets in the coming months. Its next city will be San Francisco, and it will try to launch there in the next month. Other key cities it plans to hit are Austin, New York, and Los Angeles.

Photo credit: Sean Ludwig/VentureBeat

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