The Beer Buckle: Fashion for the triple-fisted drinker
We're no stranger to seeing a men's belt buckle used to pry the cap off a bottle of beer, but until now we've never come across one that converts into a beer holder. And, absurd as it might sound, it's the kind of thing that could just be clever and useful enough to overcome the novelty aspect -- and the awkwardness of sporting a cold frosty one at crotch level.
It's the brainchild of Jay Kriner who came up with the idea as a college student back in 2003. "I was drinking with some friends in a bar in San Marcos, Texas," he told us. "And that's when it first came to me."
The first buckle went on sale in October 2008, and Kriner (who is now all of 29 years old) says he's sold "several thousand" through his website and at beer festivals and other events since.
The buckles, which start at $34.99 sans belt, come in a variety of styles (including "pirate black," and "antique silver"), and are thin enough that they can either be slipped over top of an existing belt buckle
Although you can't see it in the photo (above right), when the faceplate of the buckle is folded down, a spring-loaded copper ring pops up -- like the kind in a slide-out car cup holder -- allowing the wearer to safely stow the bottle or cup of their choice.
"It's turned out to be great for barbecues and sports fans," Kriner told us, "We've even had a dad tell us he's used it to hold a baby bottle while holding his baby in his arms." (If you're like us, this is the point where you suddenly feel very much like a heel for mocking the Beer Buckle.)
Even though Kriner's Beer Clothing Co. is based in Central City, Colo., there's a Southern California connection: Kriner tells us each Beer Buckle is handmade in nearby Huntington Beach.
-- Adam Tschorn
Photos: The Beer Buckle looks like an ordinary country and western-style belt buckle when closed, left, but when folded down, a spring-loaded copper ring pops up and turns the buckle into a drink holder, right. At bottom, a Beer Buckle faceplate in detail. Credit: Beer Clothing Co., LLC.