Would you like to know exactly whether wine, beer, rum, whiskey, gin and the like are vegan? What to look for when buying in the supermarket or organic market or on the go? Isn’t it enough just knowing the nutrients while eating? We tackle all your questions in this blog post.
What is alcohol?
Alcohol is chemically equivalent to ethanol. As a pure substance, ethanol is liquid at room temperature, clear, easily flammable and has a burning taste. It is made from carbohydrate containing substances like grains, potatoes and sugarcane by fermentation with yeast. The end product are your favorite brands such as Budweiser, Bacardi, Johnny Walker, Tanqueray and other spirits. Pure ethanol is therefore vegan!
How this alcohol is processed, mixed and flavored must be examined in more detail. For instance colors, clarifiers and flavors from animal products turn grain/plant based ethanol unsuitable for vegans. Examples of such substances include gelatin from collagen-containing slaughterhouse waste, albumin from hen’s egg and the dye E 120 from insects scales.
Are wine and sparkling wine vegan?
Yes and no! Basically, wine production is based on the fermentation of grapes. In this respect, wine is a vegetarian and vegan product. In wine production, however, aids such as egg white, dairy products or gelatin are permitted. These natural substances help clarify the wine and make it free from turbidity and help to stabilize it. Therefore, strictly speaking, a once vegan wine becomes unsuitable for vegans after it is ready for consumption.
Fortunately, there is now a lot of awareness of the vegan market among many manufacturers. When buying your wines, simply look for a v-label or other vegan indication on the label or the price declaration.
Is beer vegan?
A lot of beer is vegan, especially most of the beer coming out of Germany. According to the German Purity Law, no animal ingredients are used in the manufacturing and processing process. But be careful. Other beers or radlers sometimes contain honey or colors and flavors derived from animals! They may also be clarified with gelatin.
Here are few well known vegan beers:
- Bud light
Are spirits vegan?
It depends from one drink to another. Creamy products like Bailey’s, egg-containing products like Egg-nog, and also Campari, Amaretto and Martini are not vegan!
With distilled spirits such as gin, whiskey, bourbon, tequila or vodka, you generally start from purely grain or vegetables to make the alcohol. So almost all of these hard liquors are vegan except if they involve honey.
To be on the safe side, it is advisable to do a little more research. You can obtain information from the websites of the respective manufacturers. Alternatively you can use apps which can scan the barcode to provide more information and a detailed overview of the ingredients.
Are cocktails and longdrinks vegan?
You should be careful with mixed drinks! For example, egg white is added to achieve a foamy effect. Cocktails with juice or sauces like the Worcestershire sauce are also often not vegan. If you know that your long drink or cocktail consists of purely vegan ingredients, you can of course enjoy it without a guilty conscience!
What about juices, lemonades & soft drinks?
Lemonades sometimes contain ingredients such as whey powder on their list of ingredients. If any animal derived ingredient is mentioned, that makes easy to spot non-vegan products.
Juices, nectar, fruit juice drinks and also lemonades can, however, also be made non-vegan. This is when they have been clarified with gelatin, which is made from poultry, fish, beef or pork. Because this happens in the manufacturing process and is ultimately not added to the finished product, the manufacturers do not have to indicate it on the label.
This also applies to industrially produced, naturally cloudy juices, to which the pulp is partly added after clarification. So do you want to be sure that a juice is vegan.
How can you be sure that your drink is vegan?
Beverages that are certified as vegan neither contain animal ingredients nor used animal additives been when being manufactured. In addition, animal testing is not allowed to manufacture the product.
Using HappyCow you can find bars & cafés with a purely vegan offer in your area.