As the craft beer industry has changed over the years, so have bottle openers. When craft breweries adopted aluminum cans over the last decade, openers evolved to include a little nub to help pick up a pull tab or puncture the tear strip. Other models now include a serrated blade to help cut through wax that many brewers use to coat caps and necks of special-release beers. Some openers are designed to keep bottle caps intact, allowing them to be reused or utilized in art projects or installed on bar tops.
While fancy or functional openers are handy, just about anything else that can be leveraged between the glass lip and crown cap will work. This includes, but is not limited to, a BIC lighter, a table or counter corner, a beer can and a wedding ring.
“I find the best way to meet people [at parties or events] is just shout, ‘Who can open this?’ ” says Augie Carton, co-owner of Carton Brewing in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. “Then watch the hilarity or awesomeness ensue. And obviously share said beer with [that] person, which is why I’m drinking a bottle in the first place.”
We asked six beer professionals and enthusiasts which openers they swear by. Here are a few to consider for your next pour.
The Best Bottle Openers Recommended by Six Pros
The Mamba “opens bottles like a traditional opener but also is able to pierce holes in cans,” says Paul Alphen, a beer enthusiast. He finds it “really does make for a smooth pour.”
He first saw a Mamba used at a bar “and thought it was a gimmick,” he says, “but [it] has become a go-to opener for cans and bottles.”
Features we love: Durable, made of stainless steel and allows for a smooth pour
This dual-purpose tool can open a beer and, as the name suggests, paint cans, making it handy for work and fun.
Features we love: Affordable and acts as a dual-purpose beer bottle opener
“The Hermetus opener is my go-to tool for cracking open a bottle of beer,” says John Scholl, certified Cicerone and author of Eat Street: The ManBQue Guide to Making Street Food at Home. “It’s sturdy, opens even the waxiest of bottles with ease and seals large-format bottles to keep beer fresh and carbonated.”
Features we love: Made of stainless steel, able to reseal beer bottles, ergonomic handle and easy to clean
“For most bottles, I use a standard flat bartender’s opener,” says Maryland-based homebrewer John Thompson. “If the bottle has a wax seal, I use a Whale Shark.”
The latter is his favorite. “If I could only have one opener, it would be the Whale Shark,” says Thompson. “[It’s] simply the best opener I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot.”
Features we love: Handmade, customizable, cuts through wax seals, does not bend caps and is magnetic
“YOpeners are the perfect size; easy to find, hard to lose and feels just right in the hand,” says David Wingo, cofounder of Seasoned Sundays, a series of food and beer charity events at Wedge Oak Farm in Lebanon, Tennessee. “I also love that it was founded by a father who wanted to spend time with his autistic son.”
Features we love: Sustainably made, handmade, magnetic and does not bend caps
In a bar setting two things are necessary: durability and speed. The bar blade, sometimes called a bartender’s opener, is a favorite.
“I’ve tried others in the past, but these are just easy and the right tool for the job,” says Moshe Atzbi, the owner of Hailey’s Harp & Pub in Metuchen, New Jersey. “No need to overcomplicate it, no need to reinvent the wheel.” He, like other bartenders, will use openers even for screw cap bottles to prevent calluses from forming on his hands and fingers.
Atzbi has about 30 bar blades in his collection. He favors all-metal ones, rather than some that have rubber grips because those have “too many places for germs to hide,” he says. On days when he is working behind the bar, he will place several at strategic spots, ready to be grabbed and used quickly.
Features we love: Budget-friendly, easy to use, durable and opens both beer bottles and cans
Last Updated: May 8, 2023