Packaging #15 - Widget

After reviewing an external element to cans, let's see one that rests within it. A small device that came to market in the middle of the last century, which has a certain function that has not always been well understood by the final consumer, some of which having even expressed their surprise and disgust by saying 'there is something in my beer'. It's true.

In 1964, Guinness launched its widget, a floating plastic ball introduced in their cans to give the beer a similar mouthfeel to draught beer. The addition of dissolved liquid nitrogen in the beer causes the gas and some liquid to go through the widget when the can is opened, by reason of its depressurization. With this agitation, a dense and creamy foam is formed.

But there are other brands who also use it, and in alternative forms to the original ball of the world-famous Irish brewery. Some, as can be seen in the photo, are glued to the inner base of the can. Although it is much less frequent, I have even seen long plastic widgets in a bottle, but the most usual thing is to find them in 500 ml cans of British or Irish beer, basically.

In cases such as today's packaging element, popular knowledge can always provide a picturesque touch. The explanation that the 'experts' gave about the ball, back when I was young, is that its function was none other than to shake the beer to form a nice, dense foam -something that, in fact, happened; but not exactly for having disturbed the beer-. This was the fate of my first Guinness, John Smith's or Murphy's cans.

Salut i birra!

To understand the motivation behind this series of posts, it is advisable to read the Introduction.


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