It’s a beautiful day and you and a friend have decided to ride bikes to Piedmont Park. To celebrate the sunshine, your friend pulls out a six pack of the ATL’s newest craft beer. Unfortunately, no one has a bottle opener. The worst thing about this essential tool is that it’s never around when you need it. Moreover, bottle openers are often produced overseas with low quality materials. Some manufacturers add a bottle opener as a “feature” to another tool which often doesn’t work well. To combat these problems, Atlanta-based WiseCracker has produced a lightweight, easy-to-use opener that is available wherever you are with the first ever bike-mounted opener.
Founded by brothers Mike Ahrens and Ken Ahrens, “WiseCracker designs and manufactures high quality bottle openers that fit in with your lifestyle,” explains Ken. “The explosion of the craft beer market has shown that consumers are willing to pay more for higher quality. Our products are made in the USA with durable materials such as titanium and aircraft grade aluminum. We’re known in the bike industry for our openers that can mount on the headset, seat post or water bottle cage. WiseCracker also offers custom laser engraving to promote your company or event.”
With their flagship bike mount openers, the Ahrens brothers (pictured above) are looking to capitalize on two rapidly growing demographics: cyclers and craft beer enthusiasts. “Right now WiseCracker caters to the cycling industry, which sells 10 million new cycles every year. Many riders like to customize their bicycles and WiseCracker is a way for them to provide a low-cost accessory for their bike,” says Ken. “In addition, the Craft Beer market is growing incredibly fast with over 3400 brewers in the USA in 2014. These breweries are offering higher quality beers at higher prices, and similar to the wine industry explosion through the late 2000s.”
Known in the bike world as the founder of Ahrens Bicycles, Mike has been involved in the bike industry since he made his first full-suspension frame in the mid 90s. He has been recognized in a number of bike publications over the years and also holds numerous patents for innovative solutions in small enclosures, such as heat dissipation in micro fiber optic equipment. After showcasing his frames at various events, such as the NAHBS (North American Handmade Bike Show), Mike created WiseCracker as a way to get people’s attention at larger events like Interbike, where he showed the openers off for the first time in 2006. The openers had limited availability, so in 2014 the decision was made to form a company solely to focus on the bottle openers.
Ken Ahrens has lived in Atlanta for nearly 20 years and has been in the software engineering space after graduating from Georgia Tech in 2001. He has been a part of many technology-focused startups from ILC (now Rockwell Collins), Wily Technologies (acquired 2007 by CA), ITKO (acquired 2011 by CA) and New Relic (went public in 2014). He is bringing his technical acumen and experience in sales to the WiseCracker e-commerce site and a streamlined storefront experience.
“It was a no brainer to incorporate WiseCracker in Georgia because the business climate is more business friendly than California,” recalls Ken. “Also, for a company that is more manufacturing focused, being outside of the Bay Area is a big advantage. We’re more likely to get noticed because of our connections to Atlanta and to Georgia Tech than if we had our HQ in California. We’re excited to get engaged with the cycling community around here and already boast Mulberry Gap Bike Get-A-Way as one of our Georgia clients.”
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