Vegan food is easy to identify because you can see and taste meat or dairy or eggs. When it comes to alcohol, it’s trickier to know what’s vegan. There are those ‘unseen’ ingredients and manufacturing practices you need to look out for. When it comes to finding vegan alcohol, a little more investigation work is required. Once you know what to look out for, you’re better equipped to identify vegan alcohol.
Surely, there are vegan beers and wines?
Yes, there’s an extensive range of vegan beers and wines. So, you need to check for ingredients like dairy, eggs and preservatives or additives that have been derived from animal sources. However, the investigation doesn’t end there. You need to look further into the manufacturing process.
When it comes to beer, a process called clarifying is used. Clarifying means to clear the sediment from the beer, so a fining agent – like gelatin – is used. German or Belgium beers are generally safe because they’re produced in accordance to strict regulations known as Reinheitsgebot (or Purity Law). Basically, the Purity Law ensures there is a minimal amount of ingredients used to make the beer. Still, it’s best to check each brand before you buy it.
Generally, wines are not made with non-vegan ingredients. When it comes to clarifying, fining agents are also used. The most common fining agents used in wine-making are casein (a dairy milk protein), egg whites or isinglass (a protein found in fish bladders). Vegan-friendly fining agents include carbon, limestone or bentonite (a pea protein).
What about liqueurs and spirits?
Many of the above principles apply here, too. You also need to check the ingredients and whether animal-based dairy and/or eggs have been added. Look out for ingredients like sweet syrups and extracts or essences, then check if they’re vegan or not.
Honey is another ingredient you might find. Honey is a contentious issue among vegans – some vegans consume it while others don’t. Personally, I don’t consume honey because animals are involved in its production. If you want to learn more about honey from a vegan perspective, you can read an article I wrote for Veggie Visa here.
Where can I find a list of vegan alcohol in Australia?
When you live in or travel around Australia, download the Fussy Vegan app and scan products directly to it. Both android and iOS users can purchase the app, and the base cost is AUD$8.99.
Businesses that want their vegan alcohol products certified apply to Vegan Australia directly. Once certified, the product is added to the Vegan Australia list of certified products. Plus, each vegan alcohol product should be displaying the ‘Vegan Australia Certified’ logo. It’s also important to note that each business may just have vegan options in their range, and their entire product range may not be vegan.
One final important note for the road (or two)…
Please drink responsibly, and ensure you’re 18 years and older if you’re consuming alcohol in Australia. This is the legal age to drink. Also, educate yourself about the risks of drinking alcohol which can be found here. Finally, if you’re planning to drive, make sure you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of under the Australian legal limit which is 0.05; equivalent to two standard drinks for men and one drink for women. What’s even better? Don’t drink at all, simple as that. If you do think you have an issue with alcohol, check out the Australian DrinkWise website for extra support.
Disclaimer: Justine de Jonge of Fire & Tea is not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in this blog post, and have been included in this blog post as a guide only.