Guinness 'launches' new widget

Irish brewery tests new bottle version of stout

Feb 7, 2001 - Illinois stout lovers are getting a head start on St. Patrick's Day as Guinness test markets selling "draught beer" in bottles.


The bottles are already available throughout Illinois and some advertisements have appeared, although the six-month test officially begins Feb. 19. At the center of the effort is a "rocket widget" that rattles when drinkers shake the bottle.

The plastic, rocket-shaped device floats inside the bottle and is "activated" when the bottle is opened. Each time the bottle tips, a mixture of gases is released, creating the same creamy head Guinness drinkers expect when ordering the beer on tap.

Guinness is one of many breweries that have long offered "nitro" versions of their beers in cans, so that they pour with a thick, creamy head. However, those beers are meant to be drunk from a glass. While Murphy's Stout -- another Irish brewery -- sells a similar product in bottles, its beer is still best poured rather consumed right out of the bottle.

The new Guinness 11.2-ounce bottles even come with the admonition to "Drink it straight from the bottle." It also has a message: "Hear something? That's the new floating draught system deliver you the great taste of Guinness Draught. To really enjoy Guinness Draught, chill for at least 2 hours. Drink straight from the bottle."

The advertising campaign emphasizes the rocket widget theme. A 30-second television commercial depicts the rocket widget traveling through what appears to be space. As the camera pulls back, viewers find out the widget is moving through a bottle of Guinness. The camera pulls back even farther to beer drinkers enjoying the beer in a backyard setting.

Radio spots, intended to sound as if Orson Welles recorded them, warn citizens to prepare for the arrival of the rocket widget. Print ads resemble a stylized airline safety card and advise consumers what to do when the rocket widget hits town.

According to James Thompson, Guinness Bass Import vice president of marketing, the revolutionary new bottled Guinness product debuted in Ireland about two years ago.

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