A FATHER and son from Weston-super-Mare have launched an innovative drink safety product to prevent bottled drinks from being spiked by illegal drug substances.
Tim and Franz Malessa, of Worle, have manufactured Der Cooler, a unique stainless steel combined bottle opener and stopper, which protects drinks from unwanted substances.
The portable device, which can be clipped onto a key chain, bag or belt, meets the highest standards of food safety requirements and aims to make drinking on a night out safer.
With incidents of drink spiking in the UK rising by 3,000 per cent since the 1960s, Der Cooler can act as a safety barrier protecting drinks from being dosed with date rape drugs.
Der Cooler, was the brainchild of engineer, Klaus Krenzke, a friend of Franz who designed the first product but left it unused in his workshop in Oberkochen, near Stuttgart in Germany.
Franz said: "Der Cooler has been six-years in the making and is the brainchild of Klaus, a friend of mine who I met whilst working in Germany.
"One day he went into his workshop and returned with one of the early models of Der Cooler and asked what I thought it was but I had no idea.
"He told me how a friend of his in the village always used an old metal device to open his beer and was worried that one day he would do some serious damage to himself.
"His friend told him to design something better to open bottles and so Klaus went away and produced a prototype, the very first Der Cooler.
"Once he showed me what it did I immediately saw it as a marketable item that smartly opens bottles but also a safety device to prevent bottled drinks from being spiked by drugs, as well as keeping fizz in sparkling wine.
"Over time the design was tweaked to perfection so he patented it but he had no plans to go any further with it.
"I brought it home to the UK and showed my son Tim and we agreed that it could and should be brought to market.
"We came to an agreement with Klaus over the European distribution rights and he was really excited about the product being mass produced."
Tim, 36, said: "I have been teaching for 12-years but lost my job through Government cuts, so when Dad showed me the product I thought that it was something I could get into."
Aptly named after its German roots, Der Cooler is manufactured in Germany but Tim and Franz want to find a UK manufacturer to make the one-piece precision engineered device.
Franz added: "At present we have to go to Germany to collect Der Cooler and so we would like to use a UK manufacturer instead who can make this 18/10 food safety stainless steel product.
"We would also like a company to be able to laser engrave them with company logos, so get in touch if your firm can help."