Saturday, December 09, 2006

In Defense of the Bottle Opener

This weekend we debuted a new item by upstate New York furniture-maker, James Bettinger.

Made from reclaimed wood, it is a wall-mounted bottle opener complete with a compartment for catching the bottle tops and a drawer for easy emptying.

Though well-made and unique (we wouldn't offer it if it wasn't!), it may tease the borderline between "fine craft" and "kitsch." But as one customer responded to that assessment today, "Is beer kitschy?"

Really, what guy wouldn't love one of these puppies mounted near the backyard barbecue or in the garage? It would be as perfect in a Brooklyn loft studio as it would in a basement workshop, or even on the porch next to the shotgun. You know, depending.

The bottle opener was first presented to us a couple weeks ago by Bettinger's daughter who lives in the neighborhood. I wasn't sure what to make of it at first, but as she told me about how much her guy friends love it and how it's just a fun thing that her Dad came up with to dispatch his scraps, I warmed to it.

I wasn't sure if it was right for Greenjeans though. I showed a picture to Jae and told him the story, and he wasn't sure either. But after a while we came to see that it's a great idea, it's different from anything we've seen before, it's handmade from reclaimed materials, and it's just plain groovy and fun. Each one is made from different combinations of wood and some sport old metal bottle openers imprinted with the names of favorite brews. Bettinger even numbers each one! How could we resist?

So, with tongue somewhat in cheek, this holiday season we offer Bettinger's inventive bottle opener, and we bet that you or the beer- (or bottled soda-) loving man in your life would appreciate it, use it, and enjoy it for many many years to come. ($65.)

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