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Guinness’s new designs celebrates its Malaysian heritage

By John Lim

It’s been nearly a hundred years since Guinness Foreign Extra Stout was first introduced to Malaysia. And in that time, it has played a role in shaping our culture – just ask your parents or grandparents about drinking in the good ol’ days, and chances are it’ll involve a bottle of stout.

That sense of history is captured in Guinness’s three new limited-edition can and bottle designs, which are fronted by an animal – hornbill, sea turtle and bulldog – and feature Peranakan tile motifs, henna designs and traditional Bornean patterns.

While the hornbill and sea turtle are familiar symbols, you – especially those too young to remember when alcohol ads ran on TV – might be wondering what’s up with the bulldog. As the story goes, the first export bottlers of Guinness added their own symbols to the labelling to distinguish their bottles and exclusive territories. In Singapore, for instance, it was a wolf-like red-tongued dog (hence the Singaporean nickname ‘ang ji kao’), while Malaysian bottles featured a bulldog. This gave rise to it being called ‘hak gau peh’, which means ‘black dog beer’ in Cantonese, as well as a childhood chant during the ‘70s and ‘80s that went along the lines of ‘bulldog a minum/bulldog a minum la/bulldog minum/saya sukalah’. Yup, it was a simpler time back then.  

These limited-edition bottles and cans are available from now until February 2018, and are available across Malaysia.

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