You might be thinking WHAT? I didn’t know that alcohol wasn’t vegan. But sadly animal products are sometimes used in the making, coloring and flavoring of different beverages.
In honor of the Super Bowl coming up here in the States I wanted to shed some light and share some popular drinks that are always vegan friendly!
I’ll be honest, this wasn’t even on my radar until a couple years ago. I never in a million years thought that alcohol was not vegan, I mean why would I?
It wasn’t until I started working at a winery that I realized this was not the case.
To help you better understand what goes into each type of alcohol, we’ll break it down into categories here.
Wine is, as all of you probably know, made from fermenting crushed grapes. Sounds pretty vegan to me. Well unfortunately there are common fining agents which removed proteins, tannins and other small molecules. These items are in no way harmful to us, but most of us like our wines clear versus cloudy.
To remove these molecules they usually use one of the following: casein (milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein) or isinglass (fish bladder protein), all of which are not vegan friendly.
Luckily, there are new advancements in vegan friendly fining agents. Many winemakers are taking to bentonite clay or activated charcoal, which means there are great wines out there that ARE veg friendly.
As more and more consumers are demanding this, we will continue to see this process moving in the right direction!
The hard part is, ingredient labeling in the US is not perfect. Most wines do not list the ingredients or process in which the wine was made.
My biggest suggestion is to do your research on your favorite brands and make a list of vegan friendly ones. Even large companies like YellowTail are jumping on board, all their red wines are vegan!
Barnivore.com is the ultimate check list for ALL vegan alcohol. You can just search by company name in their directory to see if you’re good to go!
Although beer is typically made from wheat, hops and yeast, like wine animal products are sometimes used in the fining process.
The most common being isinglass and gelatin. They also often use bone char (yes burnt bones) during their filtering process.
The good news is, beers labeling is a little better than wine and most companies will have the ingredient list on the bottle or box.
Another thing to watch out for in beer is the use of honey as a sweetening agent.
Good news here though, many popular brews are actually vegan. This includes: Miller Lite, Budweiser, Coors Blue Moon and Ale Asylum.
This is made very similarly to beer, but since I am a huge cider fan, I just wanted to highlight some popular vegan friendly brands: Crispin, Woodchuck, Red’s Apple and Angry Orchard.
Good news here, it’s nearly ALL vegan. (My whiskey drinking hubby was happy to learn this).
The only exemptions here would be those that include liqueurs with cream, such as Bailey’s.
It’s obviously always a good idea to be just and do your research but all the following have been noted as vegan friendly: Absolut Vodka, Crown Royal, Fireball Whiskey, Hennessey, Jack Daniel’s, Jager, Jameson, Jose Cuervo, Kaluha, Malibu, Patron, Skinny Girl, Smirnoff and Smirnoff Ice.
So, although it was very saddening to find out that not all alcoholic beverages are veg friendly, there are still many great options out there!
You might be thinking, does it REALLY matter? Should I really worry that much about finding a vegan friendly alcohol, the answer is always YES.
If you are strictly vegan, this is probably a no compromise situation for you, but if you are not you might be thinking why bother?
But in my opinion, every little bit matters. Not everyone is going to go all vegan, but that is why I created this site in the first place.
If you stumbled upon this site it’s probably because you are at least trying to live a more plant based and/or sustainable lifestyle. So, maybe you are not ready to give up cheese or eggs yet, but switching to vegan alcohol is an EASY thing to do.
One of my favorite quotes is: every time we shop, we cast a vote for the kind of world we want to live in.
So if you want to see the world go in the right direction and see MORE vegan friendly beverages, vote with your purchase!