It came as a huge shock to me when I first learned that not all alcohol is vegan. Some types of alcohol, such as vodka, are far more likely to be vegan than other types, such as wines and beers. Here is a quick guide to the most common animal products found in alcoholic drinks.

Isinglass: Isinglass is made from dried fish bladders, usually cod fish. Real ales (cask-conditioned ales such as Guinness) almost always use isinglass as a fining agent to remove yeast. Domestic beers tend to not use isinglass in the production process.

Gelatin: Gelatin is made from the boiled remains of animals, frequently using bones, intestines, and organs. In the production of wine, gelatin is frequently paired with kieselsol and used as a clarifying agent and a way to reduce astringency in wines.

Of course, the above ingredients are only some of the ingredients used in filtering and clarifying the alcohol. Other animal ingredients, like honey, are used in the making of the alcohol for flavoring. Sometimes you will find these ingredients on the label, sometimes not.

While beer and wine are the types of alcohol the most likely to use animal ingredients in some part of the process, other types of alcohol may also use animal ingredients. The Messy Vegetarian Cook lists alcohol in order of least likely to most likely to be vegan.

For a reliable list of vegan alcohol, check out Barnivore. Keep in mind that this list may not be comprehensive as companies do change their formulas. If you have questions about a drink, contact the maker of the alcohol to get a definitive answer.

I hope this information proves to be useful to you. I strongly believe in making an informed choice when picking what to buy and consume.

Happy drinking! 😉