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Does Your Booze Contain Body Parts?!
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Does Your Booze Contain Body Parts?!

I didn't realise until about 2 years ago that if you are a vegetarian/vegan, it is not just what you eat, it's about what you drink too! I am wondering how many other people know that a lot of alcoholic drinks are produced using animal products, and contain traces of them? For example, beer and wine use products called finings in the manufacturing process, which helps to clarify them. Isinglass, a substance from fish, is used as a clarifying agent in beers and wines here in Britain. If the drinks are left they will clear naturally; the finings just accelerate the process. The most common substances used these days are:

Gelatine - from bones and connective tissues of cows or pigs

Isinglass - obtained from fish swim bladders

Chitin - derived from the shells of crabs or lobsters

Casein - obtained from milk

Albumin - from egg whites

Ox Blood - banned in Europe due to BSE

And bentonite, a type of clay. Obviously bentonite is the only one suitable for vegans, as it is not an animal-derived product. Other vegan finings used are: kaolin and kieslguhr (clays), plant casein & synthetic polymers. Even organic drinks are not necessarily free from this type of corruption, so it is best not to assume. Quite a lot of drinks manufacturers these days are labelling their products "Suitable for Vegetarians/Vegans", which is something I have grown used to looking out for now, just as with food labels. (This seems to apply to the supermarkets, at any rate). However a lot of them still do not, so if you wish to check, here is the link for a brilliant website which gives listings for a lot of the most popular wines and beers, and whether they are vegetarian/vegan:

It is not exhaustive (I gather it is still being revised and updated) but it is a very good reference point. I gather that the creator also welcomes suggestions and information.

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  1. The Flaming Vegan Crew
    The Flaming Vegan Crew
    Man, I hope not, because that would be gross
  2. Carolyn
    Vote #3 Veganara! Well researched.....this is news to me.....I had heard of the worm in tequila, but not all of this info!
    1. Veganara
      Thanks Carolyn. I believe it isn't something that is commonly known (obviously the manufacturers don't advertise it!). I only found out thru vegan friends a couple of years ago. It's completely unnecessary, they can use non-animal finings, as I have pointed out.
  3. SnakeWitch
    Yup. I wrote an article about this as well, called 'Where and How to Shop'. I added a list of some of the most common ingredients found in everything, from booze and food to fertilizer and shampoo or soap. I am vote number four. Will you vote for my article as well? Thanks!
    1. Veganara
      Thanks for voting SnakeWitch. Your article is excellent: I have read and voted for it. I always vote for people if they vote for me!
  4. Carolyn
    Congrats for making Top Posts Veganara!
  5. Virtually Homemade
    Virtually Homemade
    Great info. Who knew! I guess you have to be careful. Check out my Steamed Lemon and Chive Quinoa recipe and please vote. Voted!
    1. Veganara
      Thanks Virtually Homemade, I have voted for you too!
  6. sheljc
    guinness is not vegan, i am heartbroken and really want to know more thank you for posting this
  7. Caroline Jones
    Caroline Jones
    Great article! Thanks for reminding me about this issue. Here is another great website for vegan booze news :)
  8. arc8iablue
    Here's another website to check out:


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