Is Beer Vegan?

You hear the bottle open, you seize the frosted glass and you pour the amber liquid and then that refreshing taste hits your tongue. 

Having a beer is one of the best experiences on a hot summer’s day. 

But is beer vegan or should we be drinking something else? 


Beer Must Be Vegan, Right?

Assuming your beer is brewed under Germany’s purity laws, then the only ingredients that the product is allowed to have are barley, hops, yeast and spring water.

So, beer has to be vegan, right? 

After all barley and hops are plants, yeast is a fungus, and water is, well, water, they’re all vegan.

pint of beer

The troubles here are two-fold.

Firstly, not all beer is subject to such stringent standards.

Secondly, even though nearly all beer is made from vegan ingredients; fining, the process by which a beer is made presentable for consumption, doesn’t always use vegan products. 


Potential Animal Products In Beer

Most beer is made from vegan ingredients but some beers use honey and while there is some debate over whether honey is vegan or not, most vegans consider honey as “not vegan”.

However, beers labelled “cream”, “cow” or “oyster” contain no such products and are, in fact, made from plants.

Finings which are used to change the clarity or odor of the finished product, however, can be a problem.

In times gone by it was common to use casein, pepsin, albumin, gelatin, isinglass, etc. and these are all animal based products.

They don’t appear on the label of beer because they are removed after they are used but for a vegan, this makes the beer “not vegan”. 

Fortunately, most major breweries no longer use these ingredients and use acceptable ingredients for fining that leaves you with a vegan beer. 


Good News! How To Find Vegan Beer

Because veganism is catching on globally, many vegan beers are super easy to find. 

You just look for the green vegan tick mark on the packaging as many brewers are keen to find a vegan audience. 

toast vegan beer

If you’re not sure about a particular beer, visit the brewer’s website, 9 out of 10 times it will be very easy to find out whether the beer is vegan. 

You can also use the online database Barnivore to determine whether any alcohol product is vegan or not. 


Final Thoughts On Is Beer Vegan? 

Is beer vegan? Yes, mostly, beer is vegan. However, you need to be a little careful as honey beers are not and some traditional brewers are still using non-vegan finings.

You can easily find out online whether or not your beer is vegan, though, so there’s no need to drink non-vegan beer. 

After finding out about vegan beer, you may be interested to know whether or not wine is vegan, or to check out Winc (a vegan wine brand) or some of these awesome organic wine brands (not all of them are vegan but some are). 

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