We have lots of different vegan alcohol like wine, beer, and cider making PlantX the perfect place to buy alcohol online. Whether it’s to buy alcohol for your Friday night dinners or to keep your cupboards stocked up or for a special occasion, we got the vegan alcohol for you.
But, you might be wondering what exactly is plant-based alcohol, and what makes other alcoholic beverages not vegan? If so, keep reading about vegan alcohol and find out why you should specifically look to buy alcohol that’s vegan along with some of our favorite vegan alcoholic drinks.
What Is Vegan Alcohol?
Vegan alcohol is any alcoholic beverage that has been made from purely plant-based ingredients. You’d be forgiven for wondering why not all alcohol is vegan, because we tend to think of alcohol in terms of its ingredients like grapes or grains, which of course are all vegan. However, some alcoholic beverages contain non-vegan ingredients like eggs, lactose, and honey. In many cases, it’s not the ingredients of the alcoholic beverages that are the problem, instead, it’s the filtering process.
So, what do manufacturers use in the filtration process to make these products non-vegan? Common substances used to filter are isinglass (part of fish bladders), gelatine, and egg whites. Often it’s not stated anywhere on the product that they have been filtered using animal products, or that they are non-vegan. This means if you want to buy alcohol that doesn’t have ‘vegan’ clearly labeled somewhere on the item, it’s best to contact the manufacturer to ask them directly.
Usually spirits, for example, vodka and gin, will be vegan but varieties that have been flavored should be checked carefully to make sure they haven’t been sweetened with ingredients like honey.
How is Vegan Alcohol made?
Different alcohols including vegan alcohols, are made from different things, for example, cider is made from apples, beer is made from grains, water, hops, and yeast, and wine is made from grapes. However, all alcoholic drinks will go through the same first two steps: mashing and fermentation.
The very first step in making plant-based alcohol is called ‘mashing’, this is where the primary ingredients are mashed up to prepare them for fermentation. Famously in the case of wine, this step was traditionally done by using your feet to mash up the grapes. The next step is then fermenting the ingredients, which means that the yeast breaks down the sugars into ethanol and carbon dioxide.
Depending on what you are making some alcohol will then go through a distilling process, which is where the liquid is boiled so that the water evaporates leaving a stronger, more concentrated alcoholic solution behind. Usually vegan alcoholic drinks that have been distilled will be spirits like brandy and whisky.
Many types of plant-based alcohol like wine, beer, or whisky, will also go through an aging process, usually in a container such as a wooden barrel. This allows the liquid to mature and develop more complex flavor notes, often they will take on some of the flavor of the barrel adding a rich smokiness to the resulting vegan alcoholic drink.
Benefits of Vegan Alcohol
Vegan alcohol drinks are still alcoholic drinks, so they will have similar if not exactly the same effects on the body as non-vegan alcohol. Many alcoholic drinks are also high in calories and sugar, so it’s important to bear this in mind when you are consuming them and adjust your calorie intake accordingly. This means that plant-based alcohol should also be consumed only in moderation and as part of a balanced and healthy diet.
However, there are many benefits of vegan alcohol for the environment and for animals. For example, plant-based alcohol is much better for the oceans than alcoholic drinks that have been filtered using isinglass. Isinglass is dried fish bladders that are often used for filtering and refining beers and wines. This means that by consuming vegan alcohol, as opposed to alcohol filtered and refined using isinglass, you are not contributing to the serious problem of overfishing. Vegan alcohol is a more considerate option!
Other ingredients you are avoiding by choosing vegan alcohol are gelatine, eggs, and dairy-products like milk. The production of all of these animal-derived products can cause significant harm and suffering to the animals that are used for this purpose; for example, even free-range chickens are often subjected to cramped, inhumane conditions. This means one of the major benefits of vegan alcohol is that it may help reduce the amount of animals forced to suffer for the production of alcoholic drinks. Vegan alcohol is simply kinder to the animals and to the environment.
Top Vegan Alcohol Brands to try:
Ketch Brewing - Hazy Conditions IPA: Here’s one for all of you beer lovers out there! Crafted with Cashmere, Mosaic, and Amarillo hops this delicious IPA has a distinctly tropical flavor that beautifully balances the bitterness from the hops. Perfect for sipping on those summer evenings!
Frey - Cabernet Sauvignon: Made by the first certified organic winery in the US, this Cabernet Sauvignon is a stunning natural wine that is a treat for all of the senses with notes of chocolate, plum, and walnuts and a delectably smoky finish.
La Marouette - Pinot Noir: We love this organic medium bodied pinot noir with its velvety smooth finish and notes of sweet cherry. It’s perfect for pairing with Asian inspired dishes or Italian style cuisine.
Common Cider Company - Hard Ciders: Even if you’re not the greatest cider lover, we think this one will win you over with its crisp modern flavors. What about Black Rock Apple Saison, Blackberry Sangria, Blood Orange Tangerine, Hibiscus Saison or Pineapple Guava? The Common Cider Company has a vegan cider for every taste!
Can I drink vegan alcohol every day?
It’s best not to! Although vegan alcohol is better for the environment and for animals it’s not healthier for us from a nutritional point of view. It may be safe to drink a small quantity of alcohol every day, although this is not the case for everyone because it may lead to problems such as alcohol dependency. Consuming alcohol everyday could also possibly lead to weight gain, because even plant-based alcohol drinks such as beer and wine are relatively high in calories. If you are consuming a glass of wine or beer on a daily basis you should factor this in when considering your overall calorie intake.
What does a vegan alcohol taste like?
Vegan alcohol is formulated to taste just like non-vegan alcohol because the ingredients are usually the same as their non-vegan counterparts, it is the filtering process that has been altered to use non-animal products. Plant-based alcohols that have had their ingredients modified, for example, using agave syrup instead of honey as sweetener will have been formulated to taste as close to the original product as possible (if not even better).
What alcohol can I drink as a vegan?
Lots! Most spirits like gin, rum, and whiskey, are vegan friendly! The main things to look out for to make sure that you are buying vegan alcohol when hard liquor is what you’re is to check that there are no sneaky flavorings like honey. Many manufacturers of beer and wine have now moved away from the antiquated way of filtering them through animal products like fish bladders, but it's still important to check each individual product carefully and contact the manufacturer if you’re unsure. At PlantX we’ve done all of this hard work for you, so you can be sure that everything we stock is plant-based alcohol.
What food goes well with vegan alcohol?
It depends on your plant-based alcohol of choice! We love having a vegan red wine like this Frey - Biodynamic Zinfandel with a vegan cheese board. We also love a Lead Dog Brewing Co. - Citra Solo IPA with vegan burgers or meat-free chicken for a dreamy cheat day dinner. But hey, we don’t believe in rules when it comes to what you drink with your food, you do you and treat your tastebuds with whatever flavor combination they’re craving.