Is Beer Vegan?

Is Beer Vegan

Beer is a popular beverage in most parts of the world. But, with more people opting for a vegan life, many are wondering whether this drink is vegan-friendly or not? In this article, we answer the question: “Is Beer Vegan?”

What’s Inside?

Beer is an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting barley, water, malt, yeast, and hops. While these are all vegan -friendly products, some beer companies use certain animal products.

There are different flavors and kinds of beers. The main difference is usually in the yeast used. In addition, different brewers have different brewing processes. They also add various personal touches to achieve the flavor they desire.

Ingredients used in making most beers:

  • Barley
  • Malt
  • Water
  • Yeast
  • Hops

In certain instances, starch sources such as maize, millet, or sorghum can be used. Water, however, is the main beer ingredient. Water largely influences the taste of beer. This is because the water has different mineral properties depending on the region. Because of this difference, it is believed that certain regions are better placed to produce certain types of beer compared to others.

Are Beers Vegan?

are beers vegan

Yes, most beer is vegan.

However, the bad news is: not all beers are vegan.

Globally, more and more people are ditching the carnism lifestyle for a vegan lifestyle. As a result, there is more demand for more vegan products. But that does not mean all beers available on supermarket or liquor stores are vegan.

While the FDA controls processed food labels and requires companies to label any animal-derived products, the same isn’t true for alcoholic drinks.

While you won’t find actual feathers or antlers in your beer, you’d be surprised to learn of some of the ingredients used by brewing companies that aren’t on their labels. There are brewing companies that use milk and honey as a flavor additive making the beer non-vegan, for example.

Besides the use of animal-derived products, the filtering process used can make beer non-vegan. The distillation process of hard liquor is normally vegan. However, when it comes to beer and wine, some animal-based products can be added into the mix. Most brewers don’t filter their beer until the fermentation process is almost complete. At this point, they add finings.

Finings are used to clear out the yeast and other impurities as well as to clarify the beer before it’s bottled. There are plant-derived finings, but there are also animal-derived finings. Plant-derived finings include Bentonite, Irish moss, and silicon dioxide. Conversely, gelatin, isinglass, and egg whites are some of the animal-derived finings used to clarify beer.

Gelatin, as you may know, is derived from animal skin, bone, and tissue extracts. Isinglass, on the other hand, is made from the dried bladders of fish. The use of animal-derived ingredients to clarify beer makes the beer non-vegan.

Vegan Alternatives

vegan beer

With more people switching to a vegan lifestyle, both food and brewing companies are adjusting. This means more vegan-friendly businesses are continuing to mushroom.

If you are looking for vegan beer alternatives you can try, below are some vegan beers we’d recommend:

  • Budweiser
  • Bud Light
  • Heineken
  • Corona

Whether you are looking to switch to a vegan or are already one, always go through the ingredient list to be sure you are buying vegan beer.


Marion is a Kenya-based freelance writer who covers a wide range of topics from politics and business to health and nutrition.

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