If you’re here, it’s probably because you have the question that many vegans before you have asked, what about alcohol? As a vegan, you know that sacrifice is just part of it. However, you don’t want to sacrifice everything, and alcohol is no exception. If you are interested in a vegan lifestyle, but still want to have fun with your friends from time to time, then you have come to the right place.
In this article, we will give you some background on different types of drinks, and explain whether or not they are or can be vegan.
Fortunately, there are many vegan-friendly drinks and cocktails out there, it just requires knowing what they are. There are vegan options for many types of alcoholic beverages, including wine, beer, hard liquor, and more. So if you are vegan but don’t want to give up the booze, then read on to find out how to stick to a vegan lifestyle without giving up your favourite drink.
Is beer vegan?
The big question, for a beer drinker, is beer vegan? Fortunately, a lot of times the answer is yes, but not always. It is important to know why some beer is not vegan so that you can make an informed choice.
So.. why wouldn’t beer be vegan? Beer is occasionally fined using isinglass. Happily, most beer is vegan though! Isinglass is a very pure form of gelatin obtained from fish bladders(often sturgeon). The addition of a fining product simply speeds up a process which would otherwise occur naturally.
What companies make beer that is processed without vegan products?
We’ve got a long list below. But that’s not all, many other companies also use a vegan process, but we just haven’t had a chance to confirm them yet.
Keeping up to date with all the microbrews out there is especially challenging, so if you notice any drinks not on our list that you’d like to be drinking, please email us with the company’s name and contact info and we’ll investigate it for you.
Microbrewing is a huge industry today, and it is impossible to keep up with all the vegan-friendly microbrews. However, that also opens up an opportunity for you to explore! Microbreweries are very open to talking about their brewing process, and often you will get great information on some delicious vegan-friendly beers just by talking to the bartender or the brewer themselves. Discovering new beers is half the fun of microbrews, so go out and explore!
What about wine then?
Next up, wine. Are there vegan-friendly options for wine drinkers out there? The answer is that there are a few, but they aren’t quite as common. This is bad news for wine drinkers out there, but with some research, you can still find some wines that will satisfy your taste buds.
Unfortunately, it seems that many wines are not vegan. It’s common to use animal ingredients in the clarification process, such as isinglass (made from fish bladders), gelatin (from animal bones), caseinates (milk proteins), and animal albumin (from eggs or dried blood powder). Non-animal alternatives include limestone, bentonite, kaolin and kieselguhr (clays), plant casein, silica gel, and vegetable plaques.
Although the list of wines we’ve confirmed as vegan is relatively small so far, rest assured that we’re just getting started and will be working hard to verify more soon! In the mean-time keep in mind that any wine that’s labeled as being “Unfined” should be vegan as well.
Don’t tell me I can’t drink the hard stuff!
What about the world of spirits and liquor? The answer is that, luckily, many types of liquor are vegan. However, as with anything else in your diet, you are best to do your research first to ensure that what you are consuming is vegan.
For the most part you can relax about your worries – the production of hard liquor does not generally involve the use of animal substances (Vodka is now filtered using birchwood charcoal instead of with bone char). Campari is not vegan though as it contains cochineal. The below list of companies whose products have been confirmed as vegan is rather small, but one can assume that hard liquor is vegan. Of course, you’ve always got to be careful of what else they may be putting into that mixed drink!
Cider has got to be vegan though, doesn’t it?
Cider seems like it should be vegan doesn’t it? It’s essentially just a fruit product isn’t it?
Unfortunately, many ciders aren’t vegan as a number of large-scale commercial cider companies use animal products in the fining/clarification process. Specifically, some companies use the following non-vegan ingredients: gelatin (from an animal-derived source), isinglass, chitin (crab shells), collagen.
Vegan ciders are usually naturally fermented in large oak barrels and allowed to settle over a period of months. Bentonite clay (mined and specially prepared for clarification purposes) or cellulose filter sheets are also sometimes used, to process cider in a vegan way.
Don’t many alcohol companies support animal exploitation and abuse?
Unfortunately, many do. They’ve been included on this list despite that, but it doesn’t mean you have to drink them! Unfortunately, a number of these companies support rodeos, bull-fighting, marine mammal captivity and much more (for example, Anheuser–Busch supports bullfighting through its Corona Beer affiliations, rodeos through Budweiser Beer, and animal captivity at its Sea World and Busch Gardens amusement parks). Many of these companies also use horribly sexist advertising. My advice? Boycott them too!
That’s all fine and good, but what if I want to get smashed while I’m out of the country?
Well.. it depends on where you are of course. Many of the beverages listed below are available in other countries. You can also find information on vegan drinking in Britain from the Vegan Society. And you can even buy your wine or champagne from Viva, a vegetarian/vegan activist campaign group there!
Research is key!
As you are probably familiar with through your vegan diet, you might run into products out there that you are simply not sure whether they are vegan or not. Often, a simple google search of the product will determine whether or not it is vegan friendly. Often you will find that if a product is vegan, the company will be more than happy to brag about it.
As with anything, it is better safe than sorry, so be sure to do your due diligence on each product out there.
Hopefully though, your product is included on our extensive list below. Keep our list handy, and we will keep updating it to provide you the most extensive list of vegan products possible:
Beer confirmed as vegan…bitters, etc
Alloa 70/- Special
Alloa 80/- Export
Batemans Nut Brown
Batemans Victory Ale
Batemans Dark Mild
Batemans GB Bitter
Burtonwood Pale Mild
Burtonwood Top Hat Ale
Drybrough Best Scotch
Felinfoel Double Dragon Bitter
Fuller’s London Pride
Fuller’s Chiswick Bitter
Fuller’s ESB Export
Fuller’s Pale Ale
Fuller’s Brown Ale
Gale’s Southdown Bitter
Gale’s Best Bitter
Gale’s 777 Mild
Gale’s Prize Old Ale
Gale’s Pale Ale
Golden Promise Organic Beer
Hall & Woodhouse BXB Bitter
H & W Malthouse Bitter
H & W Oasthouse Bitter
H & W Badger Country Bitter
H & W Tanglefoot Bitter
Morrells Friars Bitter
Morrells Castle Ale
Morrells Light Ale
Morrells College Ale
Morrells Brewery Gate Bitter
Redruth Brewery Bitter
Redruth Brewery Mile Ale
Redruth Aston Manor Bitter
Redruth Gold Cap Bitter
Redruth Brewster Bitter
Redruth John Davey Bitter
Robinson’s Best Bitter
Ross Brewery Hartcliffe Bitter
Ross Brewery Clifton Dark Ale
Ross Brewery Saxon Ale
Sainsburys Premium Ale
Sam Smiths Old Brewery
Sam Smiths Sovereign Best
Sam Smiths Tadcaster Bitter
Sam Smiths 4X Best Mild
Sam Smiths Dark Mild Ale
Sam Smiths OB Strong Brown
Sam Smiths OB Strong Pale
Sam Smiths Pale Ale
Sam Smiths Light Ale
Sam Smiths Nut Brown
Sam Smiths Strong Golden
Low Alcohol, N/A
AyingerBrau Low Alcohol
Greene King Lowes
Marston’s Low “C”
Wheelwright Low Alcohol
Wyvern Low Alcoholic
O’Douls Premium Non-Alcoholic Brew
Aston Manor Lager
AyingerBrau D. Pils
AyingerBrau Very Strong
Cornish Pilsner Lager
Hall & Woodhouse Hectors
H & W Forum
H & W Compass
H & W Skona
H & W Royal Hofbrau
Lincoln Green Organic
Pinkus Special Organic
Redruth Brewery Pilsner
Sam Smiths Natural Lager
Tennent’s Gold Bier
US Domestics and/or bottled in the United States
Arrogant Bastard (Stone Brewing Company)
Big Dog’s Hospitality Group
Genesee Brewing Company
Grant’s Yakima (but Grant’s Apple Honey Ale uses honey)
HighFalls Brewery (Genesee Brewing Company)
Latrobe (Rolling Rock)
Les Brasseurs du Nord
Masters Brewpub & Brasserie
Nouveaux Brasseurs-Bar L’Inox
Pacific Hop Exchange
Samuel Smith (except Oatmeal Stout)
Scottish & Newcastle
Stone Brewing Company
Young & Co.
Wine confirmed as vegan
Beaujolais, Château de Boisfranc (2001)
Côtes-du-Rhône, Domaine des Cèdres (2000)
Chardonnay, Domaine La Batteuse (2001)
California Chardonnay (1998, Organic Wine Works)
Fetzer Sundial Chardonnay (1998)
Jekel Gravelstone Chardonnay (1997, Monterey)
Limoux, Domaine Delmas (1999)
NV Blanquette de Limoux Brut, Bernard Delmas
Fetzer Barrel Select Chardonnay (1997 )
Fetzer Eagle Peak Merlot (1995/6)
Fetzer Barrel Select Merlot (1996)
Fetzer Viognier (1998)
Port Vintage Character Casal dos Jordoes
NV Cartagène Prestige Vin de Liqueur, Bourguet
Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Guy Bossard (2001)
Cabernet Sauvignon, Mas de Janiny (2000)
Syrah, Mas de Janiny (2000)
Kenwood Zinfandel (1994)
Sutter Home Zinfandel, Napa Valley (1994/5 )
Sutter Home White Zinfandel, Napa Valley
Cuvee Napa Brut, Mumm (sparkling wine)
Cuvee Napa Rose, Mumm (sparkling wine)
Frey Vineyards Organic and Biodynamic Wine
Cabernet Sauvignon (1998, Organic Wine Works)
a Notre Terre (1998, Organic Wine Works)
Pinot Noir (1998, Organic Wine Works)
California Radical Red (Organic Wine Works)
Great White (Organic Wine Works)
Fume (1997, Organic Wine Works)
Rose Wines (Organic Wine Works)
Grenache Rose (1997, Organic Wine Works)
In The UK Corney and Barrow offer a good selection of vegan and vegetarian wines that are worth exploring.
Liquor confirmed as vegan
J&B Scotch Whisky
Hard Cider confirmed as vegan
Avalon Vineyard – bottle
Biddenden Vineyards Ciders – bottle
Bulmers (ex Kings Acre) – keg & bottle
Dunkertons Ciders and Perries – bottle
James White Dry – keg & bottle
James White Extra Strong – keg & bottle
Merrydown Original: Dry, Gold, White – bottle
Merrydown Pulse: White
Merrydown Shloer: Apple, Peach, Red Grape, Summer Fruits, White Grape
Merrydown Vintage: Dry, Medium
Newquay Steam Cider – can
Scrumpy Jack – keg
Strongbow – can & bottle
Weston & Sons Cider – keg & bottle
White Lightning – can & bottle
Woodpecker – keg, can & bottle
Wyder’s Cider: Pear, Apple, Peach