Vegans are known to be the people who are into a daily plant-based diet with almost no animal products like dairy, eggs, and honey. Following this rigid yet healthy living, they are very keen and conscious of the food they eat and the beverages they drink. But has it ever crossed your mind if vegans can also drink wine and beer? Or if there are, by any chance, certain types of beer and wine made available for them? We are all well aware that beer and wine contain alcohol, calories, or artificial sweeteners regardless of their differences. Being two of the world's most favorite drinks and consumed by almost half of the entire population, it begs the question. If wine is made from grapes and beer is made from barley and hops then the answer seems pretty straightforward. The verdict: vegans can drink beer and wine as long as they are on their toes about the substances and byproducts present during the manufacturing process. In short, not all alcoholic beverages are vegan as they may contain hidden animal products that are used as a fining agent, coloring, or an ingredient in the drink. If you are a vegan or are planning to get started into the plant-based lifestyle, take a look at the list of ingredients we prepared for you to check when choosing your alcohol at the market.
Non-vegan Ingredients In Wine & BeerMany brewers and manufacturers use these commonly animal-derived products as fining agents to improve the clarity and filter out any impurities in the juice during the fermentation process. Some of these are being added to give flavor and a bolder or darker color to their drinks, which are mostly observed in wines.
- Isinglass: One of the most popular fining agents, isinglass is obtained from the swim bladders of a fish. It helps the live yeast in wines and in cask-conditioned beers to settle at the bottom.
- Eggs: It can’t be seen nor tasted but yes, wines do contain eggs. Albumin, an egg white protein, is often used to absorb harsh and bitter tannins during fermentation.
- Gelatin: To reduce the level of bitterness, astringency, and browning of wine, gelatin is added to pressed juice. It is derived from animal skin, bones, and cartilage.
- Honey: If you love anything about Renaissance, you’d probably have an idea that honey is fermented to make mead. It is often used as a sweetener in alcoholic beverages.
- Milk: Like egg whites, protein-rich dairy products like milk are sometimes added in the process to prevent the formation of residue in the bottom of wine bottles and cask-conditioned beers.
- Whey, casein, and lactose: Of course, when milk is used, it produces its byproducts which also play a big role in the fining stage.
- Glycerin: Derived from plant oil and/or animal fats, glycerin acts as a thickening or sweetening agent for liquors.
- Carmine: To achieve that bold color in alcoholic drinks particularly red wines, carmine, a red dye made from insects called cochineal, is added.