Sunday, 5 May 2013


...Well I did promise a post about something other than food!

I've got to start with a confession. I have not been seriously considering the manufacture process of the alcohol I drink. There are some drinks that I don't drink for obvious reasons... (Bailey's etc...) and others that I have been enlightened about and can remember (Guinness, Fosters, Crabbies Ginger beer - a recent discovery) but I have cowardly shied away from this important issue within veganism for too long and I'm ashamed of this.

Anywho, before I get too morose I'll get practical:
'Many alcoholic beverages are fined (filtered and clarified) using things like isinglass (the swim bladders of fish), albumen (egg), geletin, bone char, or contain non-vegan ingredients like cochineal (crushed up bugs, yes, seriously) pepsin (pork),casein, lactose, and more.' - Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non Vegan World. Bob Torres & Jenna Torres pg 173 
So there you go, if you ever wondered why vegans don't drink all beers, that's why!
Bob (or maybe Jenna) goes on to explain that it's actually quite easy to find vegan drinks - I'll paraphrase:
-There are vegan finding agents (wahey!)
-A German law from 1516 means that all German beers are vegan.
-The majority of North-American brands are vegan too.
-Most spirits are vegan though red ones are probably coloured with cochineal.

The obvious difficulty is that bottles don't usually include ingredients lists and even if they did, they wouldn't necessarily mention their fining agents. Luckily there are ways around this. Barnivore is probably the best place to look to check specific drinks. It's really easy and quick to use - with just one quick search I found out that Harvey's (One of the big local breweries in East Sussex) use isinglass on all their beers. It's also worth mentioning that Sainsbury's, M&S, Co-op and Waitrose label their own brand products as vegan to save us time and get us to part with cash. One last tip comes from the vegan society website  ' If a beer is labelled suitable for vegetarians it should normally also be suitable for vegans as long as it does not contain honey.'
So my plan (In the short term) is to make use of Barnivore to search for the drinks I have most often and download one of their suggested apps for my phone for when I'm on the go. I'll keep you posted on how difficult or easy this turns out to be.

Apologies for what has been the least jovial of my posts, and thanks for reading and giving me a reason to be honest and thorough. Here's a picture of a smiling fish (swim bladder still intact!) for your trouble.
Gizza kiss! -

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