England are making their way to the Euro’s final; Love Island is back on our screens, and July is set to treat us to a heatwave. Alcohol is bound to be on everyone’s mind. Whether it’s cracking open a cold one with the boys or sharing a big ol’ jug of Pimms with the girls, we Brits love any excuse to enjoy a bevvy or two. While this much-loved activity should be one that’s enjoyed carefree by everyone, if you’re trying to head for a more plant-based lifestyle or are already following a vegan diet, there may be one or two things you should know about which alcoholic drinks are right for you.
Is Magners vegan? Is Strongbow Dark Fruits vegan? Is Echo Falls vegan? We’ve answered these burning questions so you don’t have to the next time you’re at Spoons trying to order a round with your pals without receiving the eyeroll of the century. You’re welcome.
Tipples to avoid
Primarily, alcohol would not be vegan depending on either the ingredients that have been added to it, or the substances used in the filtering process. Some commonly used animal products in the manufacturing of alcohol are things like albumen, casein, chitin, gelatine, honey, lactose and pepsin. These all derive from animal sources and, when added to an alcoholic drink, make it unsuitable for vegans.
That’s why, devastatingly enough, all wines are usually not vegan unless stated otherwise. White, rosé, and sparkling wines usually contain isinglass derived from fish swim bladders to make the end product more aesthetically pleasing. Lovely. In red wines, egg whites and milk proteins are used to remove any bitterness. It’s pretty surprising news considering wine is essentially just grape juice… but, c’est la vie.
Thankfully, given the popularity that veganism has now gained, many supermarkets and shops sell a fab range of different vegan wines. These alternatives are usually organic and exist in the form of natural rocks and clays. Waitrose, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Co-op and Tesco all sell their own-brand of vegan friendly wines along with a wide range of others. You can also check out veganwinesonline.co.uk and the Guardian’s list of the 20 best vegan wines, if you fancy yourself to be a bit more of a connoisseur.
Which cold ones CAN be cracked open?
If you’re a fan of a coupla’ Britney Spears, then this is some top-notch news for you. Most beers and ciders are animal product free, including all mainstream favourites including Corona, Guinness, Bulmers, Lime-Flavoured Magners, Carlsberg, San Miguel, Strongbow etc. The only thing to avoid as a vegan beer drinker is draft real ales, as these commonly contain isinglass for the same reasons it’s used in wine. However, many companies including BrewDog have started to stock vegan ales, so be sure to have a look out for these if you usually opt for this type of brew.
Spirits are usually completely safe for vegans, but there are a few exceptions to be aware of. Cream-based liquors, such as Baileys or Tequila Rose, contain milk, and occasionally cocktails will contain egg whites as a thickening agent. It’s good to always remain aware and double-check if you’re unsure, but more often than not, drinks containing spirits are a vegan-friendly zone. In the words of LMFAO, ‘Shots, shots, shots, everybody!’
If you’re looking to cut down on your animal product consumption, switching your usual glass of wine for a G&T or Magners could be an easy but uber-effective way to do your bit for the environment. If each person opted for a vegan-friendly beverage every so often, even something as seemingly minor as this would have truly substantial impacts on the environment and the increasing threat of climate change. Do your bit for the planet, make David Attenborough proud and enjoy a delicious brew… I’ll cheers to that!