Mon | Dec 5, 2016

Not loving the new-look Guinness bottle

Published:Saturday | January 17, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I join with your reader who laments the new-look Guinness bottle, for which anyone trying to consume the drink has to spend at least two minutes tearing the wrapper off the bottle. I think not only of how cumbersome it is, but also how much bacteria of various origins the foil paper now covering the mouth of the bottle may contain.

The previous wrapping was clear of the mouth of the bottle, and so, when one pulled the cap, there was some amount of confidence that one could place one's lips to a part of the bottle mouth that would have been covered with a new cap after the bottle was sterilised for reuse. With the new design, the foil is crinkly, which, in my view, lends itself to dirt and other unsavoury things becoming trapped in the wrapper during transportation.

I guess anyone who consumes their Guinness from a wine glass can appoint themselves as a "connoisseur of Guinness stout". I know wine connoisseurs love to peel back the foil wrapper before they pull the cork off their favourite wine, but the average consumer of Guinness can hardly be expected to be that concerned about those niceties.

Alas, simple Jamaicans like myself (and I am sure this includes the majority of Guinness-consuming Jamaicans) do not have our Guinness with a medium rare tenderloin steak. We love our Guinness straight from the bottle. Check any one of the thousands of bars (generally mostly ending with names like 'Hot Spot', 'HQ', 'Corner' or 'Pub') across the length and breadth of Jamaica and you will easily confirm that the average Guinness drinker prefers the bottle to a wine glass.

In my view, the problem is more the type of material used to make the gold wrapping rather than the design itself. The drinking experience now would be much less awkward if the wrapping would simply come away from the bottle with one pull. I claim no expertise in packaging or materials used for that purpose, but I do believe that this new foil wrapping spoils the experience.

This may not hurt Guinness sales, and perhaps Jamaica is such a small market for Guinness that this concern may be ignored, but having established itself in Jamaica as an Irish-Jamaican drink for all seasons and for every kind of 'power punch' drink conceived, we hope that, like the foam on the top of the Guinness stout, the foil wrapping will eventually disappear to give the drinker the usual pleasant experience.

JEFFREY DALEY

Kingston 5