The Spirited Vegan

wineI never considered that the tasty adult beverages I had been drinking for years might not be vegan.
I’ve always enjoyed the odd drink, in fact I kind of wish the idgod fake id maker website was around in my college days so I could have more fun at parties! I drink alcohol when I’m relaxing with friends but also when I want to get wasted in a club to celebrate a birthday! But, who would think a fabulous glass of fine wine, a cold frosty mug of beer or a distilled libation would have animal based ingredients? It’s a DRINK for crying out loud. After learning that my beloved spirits might not be vegan, I had to find out why.
Wine making is an ancient art steeped in tradition. The secrets of the wine maker are passed down for decades and centuries.
Wine producers have a special way of creating their signature style of wine. In the process of wine making, suspended particles can make the wine cloudy or dull looking. While it may still taste fantastic, wine lovers are likely to consider cloudy wines undesirable. The winemaker uses a process called fining to remove these unattractive floaters.
Unfortunately, for vegan wine lovers, this process often includes animal products. The most common animal products used in the fining and clarification process are:
– Gelatin – derived from the bones, connective tissue and hooves of animals
– Isinglass – derived from fish bladders
– Casein – derived from cow’s milk
– Egg whites – derived from chickens
– Chitosan – derived from crustaceans
Another nasty ingredient that was used for centuries was ox blood. After the mad cow scare back in 2007, the use of ox blood was banned in the US and France.
beer drinkWine is not the only spirit that has hidden animal products. Beer is often clarified with egg albumin or isinglass. There are many beers on the market that contain honey as well. It is really eye opening when you start doing a little research.
When I ask a purveyor if a beer, wine or spirit they sell is vegan, they often have no idea, and it is no wonder. Labeling laws do not require producers of alcoholic beverages to list products used in the refining process. This makes it challenging for vegans (and even more concerning, those with allergies to animal products) to make informed choices.
Luckily there is an excellent resource for finding vegan friendly options called Barnivore . The Barnivore list continually changes as more research is done and producers’ methods change, so check back regularly. If your beverage of choice is not listed, consider sending and email to the producer to verify if their products are vegan friendly.
Cheers to compassionate drinking!
Local Vegan Friendly Libations:

  • Four Peaks Brewery, Tempe, AZ (except of cask-conditioned ales)
  • Nimbus Brewing Company, Tucson, AZ (except for the Blonde that contains honey)
  • Arizona Stronghold Wines, Cottonwood, AZ (2008 and onwards)

About Cindy Miller

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