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the bland stuff

'I assumed it was a dud': Supply issue leads to shortage of floating widgets in Guinness cans

Diageo has reverted to a fixed widget system to ensure supply.

THE INCREASE IN demand for cans of Guinness as a result of the closure of bars amid the pandemic has led to a shortage of floating widgets.

Diageo said it reverted to a fixed widget system for some of its packs, reducing the can size to 470mls instead of 500mls, as a temporary measure. 

The floating widget is used to manage the head when pouring a pint of the black stuff, with Diageo stating that the fixed widget still creates the famous creamy head.

However a number of callers to RTÉ’s Liveline yesterday disagreed, assuming the cans they bought must have been “duds”. 

One listener, Peter, said he had a mixture of cans and noticed the difference in the floating and fixed widget straight away. 

“I actually had a mixture of cans. I was after purchasing one can from one shop and another can from another shop and they were kind of mixed and I noticed the difference in size then and no widget,” he told Joe.  

“Had I known there was no widget in it, no matter what price the Guinness was, I wouldn’t have bought it.”  

Another man, Dave, then called into the programme to voice his disappointment:

“I didn’t realise till I opened them they were the small cans. And they poured very, very badly, like Guinness with a kind of a small Ian Paisley collar, a tiny collar, you know?” 

Dave said he called up Diageo to get to the bottom of his predicament who told him that due to Covid a lot of their stout was being canned in Belfast.  

In a statement to, a Diageo spokesperson said: “As a result of Covid-19 and closure of bars, we have experienced an increase in consumer demand from the retail trade which has led to a shortage of floating widgets.”

As a temporary measure and to ensure supply of Guinness Draught in a can across Ireland, we reverted to a fixed widget system for just some of our packs. The magic of the fixed widget is that, like the floating widget, it is the secret to creating that famous creamy head. The can with the fixed widget is slightly smaller at 470mls but it contains exactly the same great tasting Guinness brewed at St James’s Gate.

Earlier today, Guinness launched a new alcohol-free version of its famed stout after a four-year endeavour to replicate the taste of the original black stuff.

The Irish brewer says Guinness 0.0 is a response to a growing consumer appetite for non-alcohol, lower-calorie drinks. The product was developed by an innovation team based at Guinness’s brewery at St James’s Gate in Dublin.

A global launch of the product is pencilled in for next summer.

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