Kickstarted: Eagle Cap-Off

I love a good Kickstarter campaign.  It’s such a great way to get neat ideas off the ground, and, as a consumer, a fun way to get involved with new products before they’re released to the general public at regular retail.  This little gem, the Eagle Cap-Off is exactly what Kickstarter was built for, in my opinion.  The Kickstarter campaign was launched in November 2015, and I was backer #503 of 779 pledging $48 for one Cap-Off.  The Eagle Cap-Off initially was projected to be fulfilled by June of 2016, but as sometimes happens, there were some delays involved in perfecting the product which were well communicated with monthly (or more frequent) updates.  Mine finally arrived December 30, 2016.  Delays are never a problem, IMHO, as long as the product is delivered eventually and there’s communication about the delay.  I definitely felt like communication regarding every step of the process was timely and thorough.  The product arrived inside the box shown in the photo above with the little sticker on the left inside the box as well.

The Eagle Cap-Off from the Kickstarter campaign is a replica of the original Cap-Off, sold by the Eagle Lock company in the 1940s.  There’s a pretty thorough history on the Eagle Cap-Off website, but basically, the original from 70 years ago was marketed as a safer way to open glass bottles (soda was still only available in glass bottles – pull-tab for cans was invented later, in 1959).  The idea of being able to buy a replica of a vintage bottle cap opener was initally what drew me to the campaign.  Here was this neat piece of hardware that looked nothing like any bottle cap opener I’d ever seen, and it had an interesting history.  Because I’m a huge history nerd, I poked through the newspaper archives I have access to and found a few ads from the mid 1940s talking about the original Eagle Cap-Off.  Click any ad to see the full-size version.
Eagle Cap-Off Eagle Cap-Off
Eagle Cap-Off Eagle Cap-Off
It looks like the original sold for $2.50 in 1946, so adjusting for inflation, that would be about $31 today.  Originals now sell forup to $125 on eBay, so the retail price of $58 for the reproduction model as available on the Eagle Cap-Off website seems pretty fair!

The design is definitely industrial which I think appeals to most craft beer enthusiasts.  It’s all metal with stainless steel components and it feels really solid, with a matte, vintage sort of finish.  It’s not perfectly polished and shiny, and for me, that’s part of its beauty.  The handles are slightly offset which does feel a little weird at first, but after opening a few beers, you get the hang of how easy it is pretty quickly.  I find it works best if you set the Cap-Off on top of your beer and loosen your hands around the handles (not quite letting go completely) to make sure it’s centered first before squeezing the handles.  The important part is that the Cap-Off lifts the cap off itself, so there’s no need to pull up or use any kind of prying motion – it’s almost easier if you put just a little bit of downward pressure to the bottle, but just the weight of your hand is enough.  I found that it was super easy to use, even with my dainty little lady hands, and of course my husband’s bear paws worked with it just fine as well.

The inside has three hooks that fit underneath the cap, and when you squeeze the handles, the plunger comes down while the hooks simultaneously grip the cap, lifting the cap off the bottle without touching the bottle itself.  The cap ends up with a little indent in the top where the plunger came down, but it’s otherwise unscathed.  It’s a kind of dramatic too – there’s usually a little puff of CO2 vapor right after the cap is lifted off.  (They even made a gif of it, and it’s awesome)

Have I mentioned how absolutely gorgeous this thing is?!  I realize this sounds like an advertisement, but I signed on to the Kickstarter campaign with my own money and am absolutely thrilled with the product they’ve delivered.  We’ve already used it a number of times while friends were over, and everyone was pretty impressed.  Sure, $58 is a good deal more than you’d spend for your average pry-off bottle cap opener, but it’s something unique that would make a great gift for a beer geek or just something nice for yourself (hey, you deserve it, and so do your fancy beers).

So, tl;dr?  The Kickstarter campaign was the perfect avenue for getting this off the ground.  The delivery may have been delayed, but regular contact kept us in the loop about what was going on.  The final product is a unique show piece for any home bar, feels solid, works perfectly, and is just so damn cool.  A++!