The red tongued dog reinterpreted

7 04 2016

Unveiled last night – a limited edition of Ang Ji Gao (红舌狗) as Guinness Foreign Extra Stout has come to be known locally.

Hokkien for “Red Tongued Dog”, Ang Ji Gao is a reference to the wolf mark placed that has been found on Guinness Singapore edition’s labels since the 1880s. On sale for a period of two months or whilst stocks last, the labels for the limited edition’s bottles and cans will feature a reinterpretation of the red tongued wolf mark. Created by local artist Ben Quek, the mark is being decorated with illustrations of what Ben sees as all things Singaporean. Among the illustrations Singaporeans will identify with are those of the red plastic chair now found in many of Singapore’s coffee shops and one of the most commonly used expressions when it comes to good food and drink, “shiok”.

Presenting the limited edition Ang Ji Gao.

Presenting the limited edition Ang Ji Gao.

Interestingly, the wolf mark points to the manner in which Guinness first arrived on our shores; not as Guinness but as Blood’s Brand stout in the 1860s distributed by Blood, Wolfe and Company- a Liverpool based bottler.

Wolf Brand 1922 Advert

Branding for the now famous stout had then have been left to bottlers, who also established the distribution networks that gave the stout a worldwide reach. Blood, Wolfe and Company, who had networks that spread to British controlled Southeast Asia and Oceania, re-branded the stout as Wolf Brand in the 1880s using now well recognised red-tongued wolf’s head as its mark. The use of animals would then have been common in trade marks as they allowed for easy identification and recognition by a then largely illiterate populace. The wolf’s head mark had become so identifiable in Singapore that when Guinness reclaimed the distribution and branding of its Foreign Extra Stout in the 1950s, it decided to keep the mark on its labels.

Blood Wolfe Neck Label 1896 (source: Guinness Singapore Facebook Page).

Blood, Wolfe and Company Guinness Stout Neck Label 1896 (source: Guinness Singapore Facebook Page).

The launch of the limited edition also coincides with the production of a coffee table book, for which Guinness has collaborated with Humans of Singapore. Titled “Men of Singapore”, the book features 25 stories of men who embody the values of generousity, authenticity, innovation, courage and supportiveness. The book, which will be made available in the public libraries, will also be given out during promotions and contests on the Guinness Singapore Facebook Page.

Showing at the Projector last evening.

Showing at the Projector last evening.

Guinness will also be running promotions during the period with up to $60,000 worth of home furnishing vouchers up for grabs. Under three tabs Simply purchase Guinness Foreign Extra Stout bottles in coffeeshops or cans in supermarkets for a chance to win. More information on this can also be found on the Guinness Singapore Facebook Page.

Frothy black substance seen floating on top off Tuas

3 09 2010

Off Tuas Road that is … at the Asia Pacific Breweries (APB). The folks there who are responsible for bringing Guinness to Singapore, were kind enough to organise an inaugural meet up for fans of the liquid black gold. The fans were treated to a tour of the brewery (not that Guinness is brewed there … we were told that the Guinness we get here is in fact brewed in the Emerald Isle, Ireland, and is actually not black as it appears to the naked eye, but a rather dark shade of ruby red, during the course of the evening). It was certainly a night not to forget, as following the tour of the brewery, there was still time to indulge in a few pints of the glorious ruby red stuff at the Tiger Tavern next door.

The Tiger Tavern at APB in Tuas.

Beer delivery in the good old days ... surely there couldn't have been enough beer to go around!

Having had the opportunity to visit breweries and distilleries which always seem to be dominated by the copper kettles and vats, I guess the visit to the brewery wasn’t remarkable in itself, but there still something that I learnt in the process … that while we take things standing up, the Dutch seem more laid back in taking things lying down: Heineken is fermented in a horizontal tank whereas most other beers are fermented in a vertical tank.

While we take things standing up ....

The Dutch seem more inclined towards a more laid back approach ... Heineken is fermented in horizontal tanks.

Another thing I learnt that evening once was that Guinness was in many ways lighter than lager … first by having less calories than lager … and also that it is actually a less dense liquid and can be made to float on lager by a skilled bartender … what the Guinness folks call a “Black and White” – also referred to as a “Black and Tan” more generically. A spoon is used in the process to tap the Guinness into half a glass of lager … a process made to look easy by the skilled bartender who in no time at all, produced a pint of what was certainly a sight to behold: Black liquid floating on gold.

Making a Guinness Black and White ...

Easy does it ...

Voilà! The frothy black substance floating on top of a little more than half a glass of lager.

Of course the evening wouldn’t have been complete without some fun … some lucky people walked home with the much coveted new Guinness Pint Glass which is being introduced this September and several other prizes by providing correct answers to questions posed by the Guinness Team and also with some creative attempts as downing a pint of Guinness ….

Getting creative at downing a pint of Guinness!

Oh, and I did learn one more thing … that beer doesn’t cause a “beer belly” as is commonly thought … it does however increase one’s appetite … so I guess there’s only one thing left to blame – too much of the other good stuff, food, which the folks at APB were kind enough to provide an excellent spread of for the evening to complement the Guinness. I understand that they would be organising more events like this … and it is certainly worth to keep your eyes and ears wide open for a really good time.

Saying goodbye ...