| Last updated
No doubt many of you will have picked up a can of Guinness and heard a mysterious rattle coming from within, a noise that comes from a small plastic ball placed into a tiny cavity at the bottom of the can.
"It makes the beer fizzy," one friend will tell you defiantly through a mouthful of pork scratchings, before another pipes up from across the table, saying with a shrug: "But Guinness isn't really fizzy?"
In actual fact, that little ball is a widget that nitrogenates the beer and gives it that unmistakable creamy texture.
Unlike heavily carbonated beers like lager, Guinness combines nitrogen gas and carbon dioxide to create a 'perfectly balanced' stout - the smaller nitrogen bubbles cascading to the bottom of the glass while the carbon dioxide bubbles rush to the top to form the head.
To make sure that you get the full experience even at home, back in 1988 Guinness invented the Rocket widget, a nifty gadget that is filled with nitrogen that releases bubbles when the can is opened.
Guinness explains: "What's the secret to making a beer that's rich and creamy with a smooth, velvety texture? The answer is nitrogenisation; Guinness' skilful pairing of nitrogen gas and carbon dioxide to create a perfectly balanced stout. In fact the result is so good we even use this on our latest beers like Nitro IPA.
"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 those little white balls that you find floating in your can come in.
"The world famous Guinness widget uses an ingenious nitrogen filled capsule that surges with bubbles when the ring pull is opened - replicating the draught experience in a can."
The invention proved so groundbreaking that it was awarded the Queen's Award for Technological Achievement back in the '90s, beating the Internet - yes, THE INTERNET - to be voted by Britons as the best invention of the previous 40 years.
In 1994, the widget thing in the Guinness can won invention of the year (based on a public vote in the UK) beating out THE INTERNET to the award. pic.twitter.com/NFD8xVtYIW
- Peter O'Malley (@peteromallet) August 13, 2021
A recent tweet went viral after pointing out Guinness' hilarious victory over the internet, with the news also amusing people over on Reddit, where it racked up thousands of upvotes.
A timeline of Guinness' history on the company's website confirms that the widget did, indeed, win the award - although pointed out that this was in 1991, not 1994 as stated in the tweet.
It says: "The Guinness Rocket Widget is awarded the Queen's Award for Technological Achievement, beating the Internet to be voted by Britons as the best invention of the previous 40 years."
Several years later, the widget also topped another online poll, which had been conduced by British technology T3 in 2003.
It took 48 percent of nearly 9,000 votes cast on the website, with email and the internet placing a distant second with just 13 percent of the vote.
David Warren of Wilkinson Sword, the razor blade brand that commissioned the survey, commented at the time: "We know Britain is a nation of beer lovers but nothing prepared us for this finding.
"It just goes to show Britons let nothing get in the way of a good pint."
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read