Is your liquor vegan? Find out with Barnivore
Wine is one of life’s great pleasures. Perhaps not the healthiest beverage, but definitely one of the most delightful. But is your liquor vegan? Oddly enough, it might not be, because alcoholic beverages are often laced with animal ingredients.
What are fining agents?
Towards the end of the brewing/winemaking process, “fining agents” are often used to remove impurities, usually in the form of isinglass (fish bladders), gelatine and egg whites. I’ve been aware of this for some time, but since fining agents aren’t listed on the label, I’m sorry to say that I’ve generally adapted an “ignorance is bliss” attitude.
Fortunately, it’s become a lot easier to find out if your liquor is vegan, thanks to websites like Barnivore. Barnivore maintains a catalog of over 24,374 beer, wine and liquor products, so it’s easy to find out if your favourite beverage is vegan. And if you don’t feel like researching your drink before you go, you aren’t alone. Luckily, Barnivore has numerous apps available on Android and in the App Store. No planning required!
Does it really matter if your liquor is vegan?
After all, the fining agents are removed from the final product. At a dinner, I wouldn’t refuse a glass of wine that wasn’t vegan from my host (I realize some of you may disagree). But I won’t buy liquor that isn’t vegan, because I want to abolish the use of animal products, and that won’t happen as long as there is a demand for them. Most fining agents are animal byproducts that raise the margins of the meat industry, making otherwise worthless items like fish bladders marketable. This makes animal exploitation more valuable and it means it will take longer to eliminate the meat industry.
So, next time you reach for a glass of wine or a cold beer, be a modern vegan and take a second to check your Barnivore app! And good news for Guiness drinkers: Guinness used isinglass (dried fish bladders) to refine its stout for 256 years, but thanks to a petition from change.org, they’ve gone vegan as of March. It’s always nice to hear about a company listening to vegan customers. So, raise a pint of Guinness to toast this vegan victory, and download the Barnivore app for future reference.