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Monday, September 14th 2015

Turn Any Beer Can Into a Glass
Q & A with Armand Ferranti
(Inventor of The Draft Top)

By now you've probably seen cans that have those nifty removeable lids - effectively turning the can into a cup and allowing you to get more from your canned beer drinking experience. Imagine if you could do that to any can, anytime, anywhere. That is where The Draft Top comes in, an innovative - and may we say badass-looking - tool that allows the user to safely remove the top of a beer can (or any can for that matter). The man behind The Draft Top is Armand Ferranti and we caught up with Armand to learn more about this cool new bar tool and craft beer accessory. Cheers Armand!

The Draft Top removes the lids off cans cleanly

(CC) What exactly is The Draft Top?
(AF) The Draft Top is a bar tool that was designed to better the experience of drinking from cans by safely removing the top of the can but still leaving the smooth pressed-on rim in place. Effectively turning the beer can into a pint glass (yes, it opens 16 oz. cans too).
(CC) Where did the idea come from? 
(AF) The original idea came from being shown how to use my tooth to open a can back in 2000. Separate from the barbaric act, I noticed that canned beer was much more enjoyable when it didn’t have the top on it. Fast forward 12 years… I was asked to open a bottle of wine at dinner while drinking a can of beer and when I grabbed the foil cutter, the light bulb went off. What if you could use a device like this to open beer cans? Now 3 years and several iterations later, Draft Top is ready for the world to use.  

(CC) Who designed the draft top and how did it go from prototype to being manufactured?
(AF) The development process, like many, had its ups and downs. I, Armand Ferranti, invented the device but my partner, Sean Kelly, helped me turn it into a product. We went through roughly 9 or 10 separate iterations for the tool design and 15 separate cutting shapes for the splitters only to come back to the first design (note: we stray away from referring to them as blades since they are not sharp). We had input from friends and family along the way and tried to incorporate changes to make it easier to use. 

One of the hurdles in creating a tool like this was trying to keep it universal so that it worked on a majority of cans. (It opens most 8oz to 16oz cans). The other difficulty was that you are trying to open a can that was not designed to be opened this way. We reached out to Russ at CraftCans.com to collect information about the types and manufacturers that produced them, then spent an hour in front of the local liquor stores' beer refrigerator measuring every can. I started to use Google Sketchup to design devices that could work by taking inspiration from other household products. We wanted to keep it as strong and simple as possible so that it would last a long time and put up with the outdoor conditions that cans are often used in.
I then sent the drawings to an engineer through a freelance site to have them converted into files we could send out for specific jobs. While waiting for the parts to come back, I would collect cans from my neighbors to trial each of the iterations. Once the parts arrived they would need finishing and assembly work, then trialing. This continued until we felt we had something ready for market. We have a manufacturer lined up but are also continuing to look at ways to get the costs down for buyers through other opportunities or partnerships.      

(CC) How does it work exactly?
(AF) The Draft Top works by displacing four splitters on the bottom side of the tool symmetrically outward to break the aluminum just below the pressed on rim. The separation of the top occurs on the inside making it safer in the event of improper use and leaves the rim for structural integrity of the can. Once the splitters break the aluminum you maintain the same amount of pressure, but no more and rotate the tool ninety degrees in either direction. We removed a lot of leverage from the handles because people were squeezing it to hard which was squaring off the can. 

Just prior to rotating, your opposite hand holds the can just below the outside rim to counter the breaking force while twisting. You HAVE to keep your hand in the same location and not slide it down or you will crush the can and get beer everywhere. It works on the principals of balancing the pressure between both hands and not based on strength and the aluminum is breaking like a paper clips versus being cut. I've had a petite female open it the first time after listening to the directions. Its just like riding a bike, once you get it you'll always feel for the same thing. 

Once punctured the gas is released evenly under the tool so you don't get sprayed. We made it to be used lefty or righty and the twist direction can work both ways, although we find certain can styles work better in certain directions. The website will have more detailed instructions soon.

(CC) What benefit does The Draft Top provide craft beer drinkers?
(AF) Draft Top allows craft beer drinkers to enjoy the beer the way brewers intended it to be, through an open top glass or container. Removing the top allows you to incorporate all of your senses so enjoying the aroma and unrestricted pour is the closest thing to a glass. It also removes the agitated aspect which typically adds to the full feeling.

(CC) Why should every craft beer drinker have one of these?
(AF) Because we set out to create an experience not just make a gadget or tool. The experience is really that much better that you will likely not buy bottles again if the canned version is available. The option to Drink Topless is there when you want it. 

(CC) How can beer drinkers get their hands on one of these!
(AF) Head over to Kickstarter and support us so that we can bring this product to life. (as of today The Draft Top has raised over $70,000 and is very closed to meeting their target of $75,000!) The public's interest in Draft Top will determine how far we go and through this we hope to find ways to better develop future versions and get the cost down for buyers.  

CraftCans.Com tested and approved!
Our thoughts...
First, we've got to say that this is an awesome looking tool! It is solid and state-of-the-art while also feeling hand-crafted. After a few tries we got the hang of how it worked and were quickly impressed by how clean and smooth the can was after the top was removed. It was easy to use and delivered on exactly what it promised. This is a great tool to have with you when you're at the beach or camping...or pretty much anywhere you don't want to bring glassware. 

Posted by Russ