Guinness ‘roll-on’? – The story behind the mysterious ball in a can

Guinness’ mystery “roll-on” is actually a nitrogen-filled widget creating the beer’s creamy head.

If you’ve been kept awake at night thinking about the recent viral video depicting what was seemingly thought to be a “roll-on” (deodorant) ball in a beer can, relax – it’s not what you think!

The white spherical mystery object inside Guinness’ popular draught is actually a widget, responsible for the alcohol beverage’s “smooth,” “velvety” texture.

The widget was designed by Guinness to release nitrogen when the can is popped open, explaining the draught’s signature bubbles and creamy head.

ALSO READ: SAB restructure could lead to around 40 retrenchments

‘Draught in a can’

According to Guinness, the widget is filled with nitrogen when the beverage is packaged and sealed to preserve the draught’s freshness.

Why nitrogen?

Here goes the legend: since beer taps were equipped with carbon dioxide to keep the beverage carbonated – packaging beer in a can presented some challenges which saw the beer losing it’s taste and texture.

As an innovative solution, the nitrogen-filled widget was introduced to “replicate the draught experience in a can,” according to Guinness.

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Not “roll-on”

Guinness’ draught wouldn’t be what it is without the mysterious “roll-on,” which provides a steady supply of nitrogen, giving the beverage it’s creamy head which rises to the top when the can is popped open.

Some fast facts:

  •  Guiness is the world’s first nitro-beer.
  • The first-generation widget was developed by Guinness master brewer Michael Ash and patented in 1969
  • Only used for the first time in 1989
  • Current spherical widget has been used since 1997.

SA Import rules

The viral video also insinuated that SA’s import rules weren’t airtight, with its author suggesting SA’s borders were easily permissible with the prevalence of illicit counterfeit goods.

So, how does the imports process work in SA? In a nutshell, the South African Revenue Services (Sars) and the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) regulate imports in SA.

If you’re planning to import controlled goods, you first need to register as an importer with Sars, then apply to ITAC for an import permit.

ALSO READ: Calls intensify for a clampdown on South Africa’s grey import

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