Common Questions About Bottle Openers
Why is a beer opener called a church key?
Although this question is commonly asked when someone first hears the term, the most popular explanation is not quite as interesting as you might hope. The term "church key" became a popular way of referring to these devices before user-friendly pop tops and twist-off caps were an option. Circa the 1950s, bottle openers had an elongated design and a cylindrical end that resembled an old church key. Whether it was a tongue-in-cheek way to poke fun at stricter society's distaste for libations or simply an acknowledgement of the two items' similar shapes, bottle openers remain a necessity for beverage enthusiasts and bartenders even as the more playful church key slang has faded from modern culture's lexicon.
What type of bottle opener do I need?
Most commercial bottle openers are true multi-purpose tools. The standard model can pry off the caps of glass bottles and pop the tabs on cans. Some bartender bottle openers have a built-in can opener and/or punch that enables bartenders and other staff members to quickly open metal cans with flat tops so they can create sauces, drinks, and other meal components without wasting time on a more-involved can opener. These tools are often listed as can punch/bottle openers and are commonly used behind the bar and in back-of-house prep work.
Perhaps the only tools that have a single focus are wall bottle openers, which have the advantages of always being in the same place and putting more of the workload on the wall and less stress on users' hands. They can be paired with cap catchers to streamline the cap disposal process. Although they cannot punch open cans, mounted bottle openers can benefit bartenders who do not want to lose time looking for handheld bottle openers during busy dayparts.
What are bottle openers made of?
Most handheld bartender bottle openers are utilitarian in design and are traditionally made of stainless or nickel-plated steel to endure repeated use in bars and restaurants. Beer bottle openers with increased aesthetic appeal may be accented with wooden handles or a black finish, have slimmer designs, or be made of other materials like chrome or copper.