Heading out for a night in the town, but not sure if vegans drink alcohol. The simplest answer is yes, however like with all foods and beverages there may be certain limitations or restrictions on which drinks you can consume if you are leading a vegan lifestyle.
Within this article, you will find what vegans need to watch out for when shopping for and drinking alcoholic beverages. My goal is to help you understand the complexities involved with the topic in question.
Can vegans drink beer and wine?
If you have chosen to lead a vegan lifestyle, the content of the foods and beverages that you consume is undoubtedly of extreme importance to you.
Whether it is a food dish or a bottled drink, it must not contain any animals products whatsoever, otherwise your vegan lifestyle will be compromised.
Alcoholic beverages are one type of drink where vegans must be quite careful and deliberate about the choices they make.
It is not impossible to find vegan wines and beers, but you will need to take the time to do some research about what brands and types of alcohol are vegan-friendly and which ones you should avoid entirely.
The first thing to understand is that many alcoholic beverages sold today are processed using animal products.
Some types of beer, for example, use isinglass (a gelatin obtained from the swim bladders of fish), egg whites, or gelatin during the brewing process, which makes them an immediate non-starter as far as vegan consumption goes. Some beers are also brewed using honey or dairy products, making those options non-vegan as well.
That is because most alcoholic beverages are exempt from the laws that require manufacturers to explicitly list any and all ingredients and materials used in the creation of a product.
This means that even if a beer seems to be vegan-friendly, it might not be because most companies are not required by law to say whether or not they are vegan, they will simply leave it to the consumer to find out for themselves.
You will need to do additional research if you want to be absolutely certain that the beverage you want to drink truly is a legitimately vegan option.
Luckily, there are certain websites like Barnivore that offer helpful directories for which alcoholic beverages are vegan; so if you are looking to find out if a specific alcoholic brand is vegan you can type the name in the search bar and get a result. Doesn’t get any easier than that!
Similar to beer breweries, wine makers will often utilize isinglass or other gelatin products as a means of fining their product (a process that is done to help give the beverage in question more clarity and a more pure appearance).
In fact, according to PETA, sometimes animal products such as blood or bone marrow are used in the fining process for certain wines.
Thankfully, vegans are not barred from consuming alcoholic beverages altogether; there are quite a few great vegan-friendly options out there that you can buy, and we will (later on in this article) give you a better idea of what to keep in mind when shopping for vegan-friendly alcoholic drinks.
Can vegans drink liquors and spirits?
Thankfully, most liquors and spirits (with the exception of those products that are made with honey, milk, or cream) are vegan-friendly.
This is because they are crafted using yeast fermentation and distillation, both processes which do not involve animal products in any way, shape, or form.
This means that almost all high-proof liquors (such as tequila, vodka, and rum) should be perfectly safe for any vegan person to consume; just make sure that you stay away from cream liqueurs like RumChata and Guappa.
Ultimately, while the majority of liquors are safe for vegans to drink, you should still take the time to read the label or do a little extra research in order to confirm that the beverage you are drinking truly is vegan-friendly.
What do vegans have to look out for when buying alcohol?
As mentioned earlier, it is of critical importance to take the time to research any beers, wines, or liquors that you might be buying in order to make sure that they are a good fit for someone leading a vegan lifestyle.
And while finding the right products might seem complicated or frustrating at first, finding vegan-friendly options is actually more straightforward than most people would expect.
Ultimately, there are two key points to keep in mind:
- Does the label say that the product is vegan
- Does it contain any animal products?
1. Does it say vegan on the label?
The easiest way to find a vegan beer or wine is to look for one labeled as such. After all, any company that creates vegan-friendly alcoholic beverages is more than likely going to proudly say so on their label, especially since veganism is much more prevalent today than it was in the past.
Additionally, more and more grocery stores (particularly specialty stores or high-end markets) will have a specific section of their wine department set aside for vegan products.
And even if there is not such a section in your local grocery store, all well-stocked wine departments should carry at least a couple good vegan options.
You can also try talking to the wine associates in the store for their recommendations; not only are they going to be well-informed about the subject, but they may even be able to order in more vegan products for you.
2. Does it contain animal products?
Anything that contains animal products (or uses animal products during the creation process) is by default non-vegan. Luckily, resources such as Bite-Size Vegan have lists that can help you understand which ingredients to watch out for. Some of these ingredients (and their purposes in the alcohol creation process) are as follows:
- Egg whites/albumen. Sometimes used in the stabilization and clarification of wine.
- Gelatin. Made by boiling animal skins and other body parts (such as tendons, ligaments, and even bones). It thickens alcohol up to 40% but only when it is used in small amounts.
- Honey. Obtained from bees, honey can be used to sweeten alcohol or add flavor.
- Carmine. Obtained from the crushed bodies of certain insects. It is used for giving certain alcoholic beverages a reddish color.
- Casein. Proteins obtained from mammalian milk. Used for processing certain alcoholic drinks.
- Chitin. Made from the exoskeletons of crustaceans and arthropods. Chitin is used in the fining process for some types of alcohol.
- Lactose. A type of sugar derived from milk. It is often used to add sweetness and body to alcoholic drinks.
Are there vegan-safe options?
There are plenty of vegan-friendly alternatives to traditional alcoholic beverages. For a condense list of beer, wine, and liquor options available to vegans, see below.
Vegan Options for Beer Lovers
Vegan beers and ales are rapidly growing in popularity, and as such there are many great options to choose from when it come to finding a vegan-friendly beer.
Some notable brands include Budweiser (with the exception of their Clamato brew), Coors (and Coors Light), Miller Lite, Miller High-Life, Miller Genuine Draft, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and Yuengling.
For a more comprehensive list, we suggest referring to PETA’s official page on vegan-friendly beers.
Vegan Options for Wine Lovers
Like with beers, there are plenty of great options for vegans. The red wines made by Charles Shaw are a great choice, as are the wines made by Frey Vineyards, Lumos Wine, Red Truck Wines, the Vegan Vine, Yellowtail (red wines only; not white or rosé).
For more detailed information on the twenty vegan wines currently considered to be the best on the market, we strongly suggest reviewing this Guardian article; it is an excellent resource on finding wines that are both high quality and vegan.
Vegan Options for Spirit Lovers
Just like with beers and wines, there are plenty of choices when it comes to vegan-friendly liquors. The safe brands that are recommended by the Food Journal are Kentucky Bourbon, Gin, Canadian Whiskey, Rum, Irish Whiskey, Scotch Whiskey, Tequila, Tennessee Whiskey, and Vodka.
Do I Drink Alcohol?
I personally avoid drinking alcohol as much as I can nowadays. Alcohol is known to increase cravings. And I personally don’t like seeing the needle on the scale move to the right.
However, I believe that drinking itself is not evil as long as you take full responsibility, and are not harming yourself, others, or animals.
Health Concerns of Drinking Alcohol
Before we conclude I would like to share with you some of the health risks associated with drinking alcohol, which are the primary reasons why I myself stay away from it.
In addition, colorectal cancer was the principal alcohol-related cancer among men.
As a matter of fact, alcohol is now considered to be a cause of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, colorectum, breast, and liver, and is linked to other cancers too.
I hope that this article has been helpful both for answering the question of “do vegans drink alcohol?” and for giving you greater insight into the subject of vegan-friendly alcohol options.
Ultimately, as long as you remember that there are great vegan-friendly options out there (as long as you are willing to take the time to do a little research), you should have no problems with finding a delicious vegan beverage for yourself.
Do you drink alcohol? Which is your favorite vegan alcoholic beverage ? Let me know on the comment section below. And don’t forget to share this article in your favorite social media platform!