Is alcohol vegan?

This question has puzzled me for some time now. How is beer, wine, or hard liquor (I'm not talking about liqueurs which can be made with dairy, nor am I talking about mead made from honey) NOT automatically vegan?

Wine is grapes, yeast, and water. Beer is wheat, hops, yeast, and water. Liquor (at least the stuff I like :o) is potatoes, yeast, and water.

I keep seeing advertisements for "vegan" wine. Am I missing something?

The only differences that I can see is that the stuff being marketed is a)nasty tasting and b) is labeled "organic."

Thanks for helping a gal out with this!
Ann Campbell
Shelton WA

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Sassy Sez: Hi Ann! This is such a great question! I pretty much stick to wine these days - my favorite in the whole wide world just happens to be vegan (Organic Vintners Pinot Noir) - except for the occasional shot of Jameson. ;O)

I discovered back in 2005-2006 that wine may not be vegan because of the way it is processed after it's been fermented.

From the website 'Why It's Not Vegan':

Wine is clarified, or cleared, after fermentation. Some of the ingredients used include:

- edible gelatins (made from bones)
- isinglass (made from the swim bladders of fish)
- casein and potassium caseinate (milk proteins)
- animal albumin (egg albumin and dried blood powder)

For more information see http://www.barnivore.com/

In the UK beer (bitter) is also commonly fined using isinglass. Many bottled bitters and most lagers are vegan. Guinness is not suitable for vegans. Most spirits are vegan except for Campari (contains cochineal) and some Vodkas (passed through bone charcoal).


Some vegans are very concerned about this topic, and in that case I refer you to the website mentioned above Barnivore for what looks to me to be very thorough lists of vegan alcoholic beverages, along with a pretty scary description of WHY some of your faves might not be vegan - pretty gross indeedy.

Hope this helps in some small way. xo


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