Snake Bite Beer Opener--A Throwback to Simpler Times

The Original Snakebite in brown.
The enterprising folks at Snake Bite recently sent me over one of their new openers to test out. They're one of the few successful crowdfunded companies that has actually started production and is actually selling stuff. They're headquartered in St. Louis, and their products are all made in the USA from American-sourced materials. They were just a bunch of craft-beer loving dudes in StL that came up with a pretty good idea and made it happen.

That idea was the Original Snake Bite opener. Essentially, it's an update on the original chruchkey patented in 1933. I say update, and not necessarily improvement, because they're not really for the same purpose. The original churchkey was for ripping a large hole in a can (without a pop-top) and drinking out of that hole. The Snake Bite is to assist the pouring of the can out of the pop-top hole, not to make a hole you drink out of.

You use the Snake Bite to punch a hole on the other side of the pop-top hole to vent the can and allow for a much quicker and smoother pour. If you did this to a modern aluminum can with an old-school churchkey, you'd practically rip the top of the can apart. I tried it out and it really works well as advertised. You can dump a full can of beer in a glass in about 2 seconds and get a perfect head on it. The Snake Bite also opens bottles (shocking!), with ease.

The opener feels extremely solid and well built--actually probably overbuilt. I'm going to lose this thing long before it wears out. The metal is thick and solid with well cut, sharp edges on the business end. The cover is also thick and feels like quality leather. It's like a vision of the past when your grandpa carried a leather briefcase to work and ripped open beers in steel cans afterwards while he watched your parents run around the perfectly groomed lawn. It really is a thing of beauty.

My only real complaint about it is the size. I have limited real estate in my pockets, and this opener is pretty large. It's about twice the size of a regular key chain bottle opener or key. For some of you this may not matter, but you skinny-jeans-wearing people out there--this probably isn't the opener for your pocket.

Bet this guy wished he had craft beer in a
can and a Snakebite opener to vent it.
Now the real question: is it worth it? The Original Snake Bite costs $22. I've never paid more than $10 for a bottle opener, and that was an awesome antique cast iron fish bottle opener that weights about 3 lbs. Most of the bottle openers in my collection were free or about $1 at a flea market or garage sale.

Also, for just $30 you can get a Swiss Army Knife that will get you to the beer just as well as the Snake Bite, do a bunch of other stuff, and will also last a lifetime. You also have to think--do I really  need to pour my beer out of my can in under 2 seconds? I could just take 10 seconds to get the perfect pour and save my $22.

So, I'd say if you're buying for functionality, forget it. But if you want a connection to a (maybe anachronistic) 1950s American Dream past with a solid, American-made opener that will outlast you, then the Snake Bite is for you. You can also get Snake Bite openers fully customized with monograms or company logos. Although they are pricey, a customized Snake Bite opener would be a pretty sweet gift.

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