The Popener

Submitted by Tacky Julie November 3rd, 2009
Certifikitsch WinnerClassique d Camembert

The Popener is a bottle opener that features the image of Pope John Paul II. It the essence of kitsch…that perfect blend of a figure of eminence with a mundane item of everyday utility. As far as I know, it is only available at a souvenir shop just outside the Vatican in Rome. If anyone is planning a trip to Rome, I would love to know if they are now selling Pope Benedict XVI popeners. Just go to the Galleria Mariana on the Via di Porta Angelica and tell them Tacky Julie sent you.

5 Responses to “The Popener”

  1. Allee Willis

    BRILLIANT! You’re absolutely correct that it’s a perfect blend of eminence and the mundane, ingredients for the ultimate Kitsch.

    I have a bunch of Pope stuff that I’ve collected for the same reason but it’s all plastic. nothing as regal as what you have here. The addition of the gold metal makes me wish I had a chilled Colt 45 right here giving me an excuse to hold something so precious in my hand to pop it open.

  2. Tacky Julie

    I can’t take credit for the title. When I first heard of its existence, that’s what I was told it was called. Eventually, I found a friend who was going to Rome. I asked her to look for one for me. She came back with a popener and told me how easy it was to find. “There was a big barrel of them in the store where the line forms to take the Vatican tour,” she said.

    The bad news is that they are made of cheap pot metal, and mine broke when I used it to open a bottle of Pete’s Wicked Ale. Or was it punishment for my irreverence?

    • Allee Willis

      Now that you say it, a) I can’t believe I didn’t think of that to use in my initial comment and b) if they’re crass enough to sell beer cap openers where one takes the Vatican tour I can’t believe they didn’t go one more step and pop the pointy piercing end of a church key type opener on this one so they could call it that. Though the name Pope Church Key isn’t quite as snappy as Popener.

      Here, BTW, is the Wikipedia scoop on how church keys got their name:

      Theory #1: In Medieval Europe, monks and nobility were the only brewers. Lagering cellars in the monasteries were locked as the monks guarded the secrets to their craft. The monks carried keys to these lagering cellars on their belt.

      Theory #2: Beer was first canned in 1933, the same year Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Cullen-Harrison Bill which predated Repeal of Prohibition making 3.2 beer legal. Some experts have posited the term “church key” was a way to “stick it to” the religious organizations who had effected Prohibition in the first place.

      Theory #3: In some rural areas, churches weren’t locked so no key was needed. Because the can opener is designed so anyone one could use it, the ubiquity of access was compared to the ability to get into a church at any time.

      One way or another, I’m glad someone figured out how to pop the brew.