Vegan Beers and Wines – What You Need to Know
As you’re probably aware, the vegan movement is growing stronger with the passing of each and every day, and that can only be seen as a good thing.
With more and more people adopting a vegan diet and lifestyle, more companies are creating vegan-friendly alternatives to popular products of theirs which ordinarily contain animal-derived products.
If you’re thinking of going vegan but like a drink or two, there may be more than just alcohol in your beer or wine. Yes, many beers and wines out there are not vegan friendly.
Here’s what you need to know about vegan friendly alcohol drinks.
Why isn’t my beer or wine necessarily vegan friendly?
Wine is typically made by taking grapes, extracting their natural juices, and using yeast – sometimes naturally occurring yeast, fermenting the natural sugars into alcohol.
Beer making is slightly more complex, but typically that is made by using hops and grains. The primary ingredients used to create beer and wine are definitely vegan friendly, so how come not all beers and wines are vegan friendly? Well, this is because non vegan friendly ingredients are added later on.
One thing you’ve probably noticed, is that most beers and wines are served crystal clear and transparent. If people were served a cloudy wine or beer, they’d think it was bad and would ask for a replacement.
This transparent finish is obtained during the filtration process, and it is here where the non-vegan friendly ingredients are sometimes added. Normally you’ll find that fish gelatin and Isinglass are used to clarify beer and wine.
Isinglass is made from fish bladder. Other ingredients used in the filtration process include egg shells, egg whites, and more. These are designed to filter out the impurities to leave you with a clear and aesthetically pleasing looking beverage.
As well as the ingredients used in the filtration process, sometimes non-vegan friendly flavourings such as honey and lactose are also added for extra flavour and texture.
The good news is that there are now more vegan beers and wines available to choose from, though you need to know how to spot the difference.
How to tell if your beers and wines are vegan friendly
As mentioned, there are now more vegan drinks to choose from than ever before, though you need to know where to look.
The problem is that, by law in most countries, breweries do not need to list animal products used in the processing stages unless the booze is being served in a restaurant.
What’s more Isinglass and fish gelatin are not allergens so they aren’t included on the list of potential allergens either.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology however, there are now countless resources available at our disposal.
Websites such as Barnivore have a very extensive list of beers and wines so you can check whether your favourite brands can indeed be classed as vegan beers or wines.
There are also handy apps which you can download and install on your phones and smart devices.
Please drink responsibly. Drinkaware