So it is clearly obvious that now that you’re on a vegan diet, you need to avoid things like sausages, cheese and eggs. But what about less obvious things like alcohol? Is alcohol vegan friendly? Can you still enjoy that glass of wine over dinner?
(Some) Alcohol Is Not Vegan
You may be surprised to learn that not all alcohol is vegan friendly. Animal and/or animal-derived products can be found throughout the entire process ranging from the ingredients used to the process of creating the final product.
Depending on the type of alcohol, you will find that dairy products, isinglass (from fish) and gelatine (from animal bones and skin) is widely used in the filtering process and additives such as cochineal extract or carmine (from insects) can be found as a colouring agent in the ingredients.
Commonly Used Animal-Derived Products
- Isinglass – a type of collagen from fish bladders; this is used to help clarify the alcohol (known as fining)
- Gelatine – from animal skin and bones; as a thickening and gelling agent
- Carmine – from cochineal beetles; provides a vibrant colour
- Honey – from bees; added for flavouring and as a sweetener especially to some beers
- Casein – from dairy milk; particularly found in the creamier alcoholic varieties but may also surprisingly be found in other non-suspecting alcohol
So I’m Doomed?!
Luckily there are vegan friendly alcohol options out there! As with all other products, you should always check the labels and confirm with the manufacturer if you’re ever in doubt. Unfortunately sometimes it’s hard to find information regarding their manufacturing processes so as usual use your best judgement.
Generally speaking (this is by no means a strict rule!), you’ll find that beers, some wines and ciders tend to be non-vegan while spirits tend to be more suitable. There are also a number of handy websites such as Barnivore which provides a handy lookup for some of your favourites.
Do you enjoy a glass from time to time? What are some of your favourite vegan options?