Updated at: 05-07-2023 - By: John Lau

Have you ever wondered why there’s a plastic ball in your can of Guinness? This curious addition, known as the “widget“, is exclusive to Guinness cans and plays an integral role.

This article will unveil the mystery behind this seemingly odd concept, providing answers to why and how this ping pong-like sphere contributes significantly to that iconic creamy head on top of your poured stout.

Are you intrigued yet? Let’s explore more!

The Purpose of the Ball in Guinness Cans

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The purpose of the plastic ball in Guinness cans is to achieve the iconic foamy head and enhance the creamy finish.

Achieving the iconic foamy head

Pouring a Guinness from a can is an art, and the secret to mastering it lies in your understanding of ‘the widget.’ This tiny plastic ball tucked safely inside each aluminum can plays a critical role in creating that iconic creamy head we all love.

Here’s how it works – once you pop open the can, pressure drops and pressurized nitrogen stored within this hollow spherical device gets released into the beer. The result? Instant carbonation trickles through for that classic, well-rounded Draught Stout foamy head synonymous with Guinness.

It’s not magic; it’s innovative packaging at its finest, designed specifically for enhancing your drinking experience by mimicking what happens when pouring fresh draught beer from a tap.

Enhancing the creamy finish

The plastic ball in Guinness cans plays a crucial role in enhancing the creamy finish of the beer. This small, hollow spherical piece, resembling a mini ping pong ball, is known as a “widget.” When you crack open a can of Guinness and pour it into your glass, the widget releases a small amount of gas that helps create the iconic foamy head and creamy texture.

Contrary to popular belief, this plastic ball is not filled with nitrogen. Instead, it allows pressurized carbonation to escape through a tiny hole. As the beer trickles into your glass, the release of gas creates that smooth and velvety mouthfeel that Guinness stout is famous for.

Thanks to this packaging innovation called widget technology, you can enjoy an authentic draught-like experience right from the comfort of your own home. The presence of the widget ensures that every sip delivers that classic Guinness taste with its signature creamy head – just like pouring one from a tap at your favorite pub.

How the Guinness Ball Works

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Features of the plastic ball

The plastic ball found inside Guinness cans, also known as a widget, plays a crucial role in giving the beer its iconic foamy head and creamy finish. This hollow and spherical plastic piece resembles a mini ping pong ball and is designed to enhance the drinking experience of pouring Guinness from a can.

The widget contains a tiny hole that allows gas to escape when the can is opened, creating the desired head. Contrary to popular belief, it is not filled with nitrogen or any other gas. Its main function is to release a small amount of gas that creates the classic creamy head characteristic of Guinness stout.

With its innovative design, this plastic ball ensures that you can enjoy the true taste of draught-quality Guinness straight from an aluminum can.

The role of the tiny hole

The tiny hole in the plastic ball inside Guinness cans plays a crucial role in achieving that perfect foamy head. When you open a can of Guinness, the pressure built up inside causes the gas to be released through this small opening.

As the gas escapes, it creates turbulence and mixes with the beer, resulting in those velvety bubbles that give Guinness its signature creamy finish. This hole ensures that just the right amount of gas is released to create the desired effect, allowing you to enjoy your pint as if it were freshly poured from a tap.

So next time you crack open a can of Guinness and see that little ball inside, know that it’s there to deliver nothing short of an authentic Irish Stout experience.

Dispelling Misconceptions

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The plastic ball inside Guinness cans is not filled with nitrogen, and there’s no need to shake the can to activate it.

Not filled with gas or nitrogen

The plastic ball inside Guinness cans is often misunderstood as being filled with gas or nitrogen, but in reality, that’s not the case. The purpose of this widget is to create the signature foamy head and enhance the creamy finish of a classic poured pint of Guinness.

It may look like a mini ping pong ball, but it’s actually a hollow spherical plastic piece. When you crack open a can of Guinness, the pressurized nitrogen trickles into the beer, creating that iconic creamy head.

The key here is that the ball has a tiny hole in it which allows the gas to escape and form that beautiful froth on top. So next time you enjoy a Guinness from a can, remember – it’s not about shaking it; it’s all thanks to this innovative widget technology!

No need to shake the can

Shaking the can won’t do any good when it comes to getting that perfect pint of Guinness. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The plastic ball inside the Guinness can is designed to release a small amount of gas when you open it, creating that foamy head we all know and love.

So, instead of shaking the can vigorously like some other carbonated beverages, simply pop open your Guinness and let the widget work its magic. It’s one less step you have to worry about when enjoying your favorite Irish stout from a can.


In conclusion, the presence of a plastic ball, or widget, in Guinness cans is not just a random addition. It plays a crucial role in achieving that classic foamy head and creamy finish that we all love about Guinness.

The hollow spherical piece helps release gas when the can is opened, creating the perfect pour every time. So next time you crack open a Guinness can and see that little ball inside, remember it’s there to ensure you enjoy every sip of this iconic beer just like it was poured from a tap.