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4 Non-Vegan Ingredients That Are in Booze
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4 Non-Vegan Ingredients That Are in Booze

If you’re a beer lover, you’ll be glad at the news that Guinness has stopped using isinglass, an animal ingredient, in their beer-making process. Here’s more about it and other animal extracts you should avoid in your alcohol.

  • What’s Isinglass? 

Although it sounds nice, isinglass is far from being a lovely term. It’s a form of collagen that is derived from the swim bladders of fish. It is used in the process of making both beer and wine because it helps to filter extracts of yeast that create a cloudy appearance.

Now that Guinness has stopped using this ingredient in its beer, it’s safe for vegetarians and vegans to consume. But it does make you think: what are other ingredients, other than isinglass, that can crop up in your alcohol? Here’s a rundown of the ones to avoid:

  • Carmine. How does some alcohol get its rich, red appearance? Often, this is a result of carmine, which is colouring derived from boiling cochineal beetles! 
  • Casein. This protein is found in foods such as dairy and protein bars, but also in alcohol. It is used as a fining agent in wine and beer, before getting removed. But you still don’t want to consume a drink that was made with it!  
  • Gelatin. You might avoid it in sweet stuff, but it can appear in your alcohol. Gelatin’s function is to clarify wine when other items, such as egg whites or casein, are not used. The clarification process is when anything unwanted in the wine (such as yeast particles) is removed from the liquid.  
  • How to Find Vegan Alcohol 

You need to research vegan wines and beer before you make a quick purchase. Sometimes alcohol can appear to be vegan when it’s really not. Just because a product doesn’t have animal-derived ingredients on its bottle, it doesn’t mean that these were not used during the process of making the product. How can you be really sure, then, what you’re drinking? A good site to check out is Barnivore. Here you get in-depth information about various alcohol brands and whether or not they’re completely vegan. They’ve basically done all the research for you so you can find the perfect treats for your weekend party. Cheers! 

*Image courtesy Flickr Creative Commons

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  1. Support
    Cheers to that! Thanks Giulia!
  2. Calyptra
    Egg white is another fining agent commonly used, especially for wine.


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