INNOVATION AT GUINNESS
Guinness’ dedication to innovation started with none other than the man himself, Arthur Guinness, who in 1801 created the brand’s first major innovation, West India Porter. He challenged himself to find a way to export his beer to countries like the West Indies. But he needed a seriously reliable preservation method and instead of looking outside for the answers, Arthur looked inside. By creating a recipe with a high alcohol and hops content, he made a more intense beer that could preserve itself for the long journeys overseas. Genius!
Through the years, Guinness’ dedication to innovation has remained a key part of the brand’s mission. From the wide variety of beers and technical firsts such as the introduction of nitrogen to beer and the world-renowned widget through to the MV Miranda Guinness, built in 1977 as the world’s first bulk liquid carrier, commissioned to carry Guinness from Dublin to the UK. Guinness continues to push the boundaries within the world of brewing, having recently mastered the alcohol-free pint as well as Guinness MicroDraught – the keg so small it comes in a can.
In 1951, Michael Ash joined the Guinness team. Nobody could have known that he’d eventually revolutionize the way in which Guinness is enjoyed throughout the world. A master mathematician turned master brewer, Michael Ash was someone with true creative brewing spirit, backed by a strong passion for science.
As soon as he stepped behind the brewery gates, Ash became fascinated by the idea of serving Guinness in draught format and was convinced that adding nitrogen to the beer was not only the most effective way to do this, but also that it would transform the actual beer itself.
Ash’s ‘Easy Serve’ system created the ‘surge and settle’ effect that draught Guinness is now famous for. What he called ‘a fresh approach’ was the world’s first nitro beer.
“I don’t think anyone has called me a genius…an achiever is what I like” - Michael Ash (1927 – 2016)
Humble too? Our kind of man!
So, the next time you’re patiently watching the surge and settle of your pint, think of the man behind the magic, Michael Ash.
What’s the secret to making a beer that’s rich and creamy with a smooth, velvety texture? The answer is nitrogenation.
But how do you use a technology that was originally designed to allow the beer to be poured in pubs on draught to deliver the perfect Guinness serve in a can? That’s where the widget comes in!
A lot of innovation loses its magic with time. But the widget has never lost its magic. Just saying the word ‘widget’ puts us in a good mood.
It’s essentially a small, white nitrogen filled ball that sits inside the can, and the second the can is opened, the widget does what it has so patiently been waiting to do. It releases the magic surge of bubbles, replicating the draught experience in a can.
In 2004, a survey of almost 9,000 people voted our little widget as being a greater invention than the internet. This isn’t a joke, the widget beat the internet. But our widget has managed to remain humble since then, resisting the temptation of getting a big head (get it?).
The result? A perfectly smooth beer that’s unmistakably Guinness every time.