All About Beer Magazine - Volume 35, Issue 2
June 9, 2014 By

INNOVATIVE OPENERS: Modern-Day Designs, From Haute to Handmade

hermetus

Hermetus

Producer: Monopol (Germany)

Highlight: Hermetically reseals an open bottle.

Specifics: The Hermetus Opener and Sealer—in addition to handling both standard and twist-off caps—has chrome prongs and a rubberized gasket along its underside that allow it to be slipped over the top of an open bottle, creating an airtight seal. Helps maintain carbonation, though using it as a bottle re-sealer does render it somewhat less useful as an actual opener.

Provenance: Though lacking the rubber-gasket snazziness, Martin Trollen’s “Combined Bottle Cap and Opener” design patent from 1936 was perhaps 80 years ahead of its time. It didn’t have a twist-off-cap remover either, because people had hands back then.

See Also: Other openers + Beer Savers bottle caps, Rabbit Wine & Champagne Sealer

Be Open
Be Open

Be Open

Producer: Anzen Markets (Seattle, WA)

Highlights: Can-shaped design, nontraditional movement, minimized cap-crimping?

Specifics: Founder and president Paul Cifka was fascinated by a similarly designed opener he’d encountered in Japan. The cylinder is pushed directly down onto a sealed bottle, a lever pops out from the downward pressure, and a magnet keeps the freed cap from rolling away.

Provenance: Possibly ninjas.

See Also: Alessi’s mirror-polished Pop-Up Bottle Opener, Brookstone’s Easy-Open

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BBbarfly

BBbarfly

Producer: BBbarfly Inc. (Ontario, Canada)

Highlights: Butterfly-knife design sans knife, “flair beer-tending.”

Specifics: It’s based on the butterfly knife, or balisong, which allows users to unsheathe it one-handed, requiring only a flick of the wrist. BBbarfly’s website offers trick tutorials for moves like “Skull & Bones,” “Chopsticks” and the “Transformer.” (Try not to break anything.)

Provenance: The Philippines or 18th-ish-century France, depending upon whom you ask.

See Also: Bottlefly Knife, Lagunitas’ Butterfly Bottle Opener and advanced-training videos

Beer Stick
Beer Stick

Beer Stick

Producer: Beer Stick Bottle Opening Co. (Denver, CO)

Highlights: Simplicity, heavy-duty construction

Specifics: Thick, 8-inch wooden handle + metal bit + leather strap = a reliable opener that doubles as home protection. Company’s philosophic stance: “If counter tops were supposed to open beer, they would have called them bottle openers.”

Provenance: Simpler times.

See Also: Areaware Bottle Opener (similar premise, plus two magnets: one for catching caps, one for fridge adherence); alternately, the Art of Manliness site has detailed DIY instructions.

Gropener
GrOpener

GrOpener

Producer: GrOpener (Denver, CO)

Highlights: One-handed opener, slightly unfortunate name.

Specifics: This patent-pending “grab opener” is arguably one of the more elegant designs out there: It has a circle for one’s index finger, a front notch lets the middle finger balance things, and one simply reaches the opener over a bottle while catching its cap with the back hook. A firm trigger motion pops the cap off.

Provenance: Inspired by a leverage approach that the GrOpener’s inventor, Mark Manger, saw while doing Peace Corps work in Ghana. Launched in 2012 through Indiegogo fundraising.

See Also: Rush3’s Kebo (inspired by Theodore Low’s 1939 patent), EZ Botop from Belgium.

Bropener
BROpener

BROpener

Producer: The BROpener Bottle Opener (San Francisco, CA)

Highlights: Minimalist design, magnetic personality.

Specifics: The BROpener (also patent pending) takes a notable approach: It’s basically a hard, thin square of anodized aluminum. Its strong 3M adhesive attaches it to most surfaces, and bottles are opened by resting each cap against the BROpener’s ledge and pounding with a closed fist. Less mechanical advantage—but more fun. Its rare-earth magnet snags the cap.

Provenance: College.

See Also: Metal workbench edges, the furniture of your enemies.

Additional Options

Etsy.com sellers hammeronsteel (BMW Ironworks) and Wayfarer Forge offer a wide range of hand-forged iron openers, as do folks like Imperiale Forge (on Facebook).

If you can imagine functionally combining anything with a bottle opener, it probably exists. Today, products with built-in openers cover everything from baseball caps to belt buckles, carabiners to crowbars, iPhone cases to USB flash drives.

Last (but not least): Look to the past. Visit local flea markets, second-hand shops and eBay for antique openers offering a sense of locale and brewing history.

This story appeared in the May issue of All About Beer MagazineClick here for a free trial.


Ken Weaver
Ken Weaver is author of The Northern California Craft Beer Guide and editor of RateBeer Weekly. More at kenweaver.com.