As a vegan, you’re probably well versed in scrutinising food labels for animal ingredients, but what about alcoholic drinks labels?
Many animal ingredients that are used in the actual product (e.g. dairy, honey, cochineal) aren’t listed, neither are the animal products used in the production.
When it comes to hard-liquor (bourbon, whiskey, vodka, gin, and rum), almost all brands of are vegan (other then the obvious cream-based liqueurs).
Many beers and wines though, are clarified with animal-derived products. As these are merely an aid to processing they shouldn’t remain in the final product, but if you don’t want to take the chance, and disagree with them being used in the first place (when there are suitable alternatives), then choose a vegan option.
Brewmasters, winemakers, and distillers may use the following animal-derived products in processing and filtration.
- Albumin – derived from egg whites (from caged eggs);
- Casein – protein derived from milk;
- Chitin/Chitosan – derived from the shells of crabs, lobsters, etc;
- Gelatin – from bones and connective tissues of cows or pigs;
- Isinglass – from fish swim bladders.
A great place to find out whether your favourite beer, wine or spirit is vegan, is Barnivore, they have a database of 21,776 entries that are regularly checked.
It’s also worth contacting the alcohol company directly to verify that their products are vegan (if they do not say on the label). Praise companies for having a vegan product, and encourage them to place a `suitable for vegans’ label on their product to aid other vegan shoppers!
If your favourite beverage isn’t vegan then speak to the company – tell them you are vegan and encourage them to source vegan alternatives, the more we raise awareness of veganism, the more likely the companies are to listen!