Reporting by Morgan Walsh, photos by Ray Hu
Cose Nuove's Reindeer Antler Opener topped the list of statement bottle openers we saw at this year's International Home + Housewares Show. Though seemingly small on a scale of animal horns, the Antler Opener is large on a the scale of beer gadgets and the opener's unusual shape means it cannot be discretely stored in a standard kitchen drawer. Set atop the bar or hung on a wall, this opener is meant to be seen.
The Antler Opener puts on a bit of a show when performing its job, in the same vein as other antlers-as-utilitarian-objects: Greg Buntain of Fort Standard uses his to hang coats, while designer Taylor Simpson repurposed them into a set of bicycle handlebars. Fully functional, the opener imposes upon the viewer a moment of pause—determining the best grip and bottle position took a few seconds longer than with my standard keychain opener and added an aspect of deliberateness to the normally reflexive job of opening a beer.
In addition to the cool factor, the pop of the cap by a party host (who, now that you think about it, has unusally calloused hands) seems purposeful, an added dose of hospitality. After all, it seems that most people associate reindeer with driving Santa's sleigh and the holiday season. A season that traditionally carries a greater sense of conviviality, festivity and generosity than summer-time soirees where guests are often directed to seek an opener near a cooler.
Because the reindeer antlers are naturally shed and hand collected in Finland, no piece is exactly the same. Cose Nuove also offers a Reindeer Antler Cork Screw, but uses only a portion of the antler for the handle. Easily tossed into a kitchen drawer, its form is much closer to a traditional corkscrew, making it nowhere near as statement-y.