All Guinness will soon be suitable for vegans!

The brand made the announcement back in 2015 that they were changing their filtration process in order for the stout to become vegan friendly. At the time, a spokesperson for Diageo (the company that owns Guinness) said that they “hope[d] to have the new system up and running by late 2016 with the liquid on the shelves for consumers to buy soon after.” But it was only announced in April of this year that all kegs of Guinness are now guaranteed to be vegan.

Initially they warned, that not all bottles and cans are vegan friendly, but it’s now expected that all Guinness on shelves will be fully vegan by the end of the year. The stout brand have announced that production of the vegan friendly cans and bottles has already started. In reply to a customer letter, Guinness wrote ‘Production and distribution has… commenced on the bottle and can formats of Guinness Draught. It will take some time to reach the full scale distribution of these formats, but this is expected by the end of 2017.

The famous Irish drink was first brewed in the 1700s in a small Dublin brewery and is now available in over 120 countries worldwide. The initial change was prompted by several petitions from vegans and vegetarians who were fans of the dark pint but were less keen on the traces of isinglass that were to be found in every can, bottle and glass.

What is isinglass?

Isinglass is the air bladder of a fish, most commonly sturgeon or cod, that is used in the process of brewing beer in order for the finished product to have a clearer, less murky appearance. It does so by sticking to all the unwanted particles and excess yeast floating in the beer, before finally thickening into a jelly-like substance that falls to the bottom of the cask making it easy to remove. Because isinglass is taken out of the beer before it goes on sale it technically isn’t in the beverage but undoubtedly traces can be found in any beer still filtered this way. Beer has been filtered like this for many centuries but thankfully new scientific and technological discoveries have allowed for companies to find alternatives to the animal product.

Is Guinness the only vegan beer?

It is likely that many people would have been unaware of isinglass being used in the creation of their alcoholic drinks before Guinness announced that they were to stop using it. This has caused some concern over other alcoholic products being vegan. Luckily, barnivore is a regularly updated site that lists alcoholic drinks by whether they are vegan, vegetarian or unsuitable for both groups. Most drinks catalogued come with a list of ingredients as well as a report regarding the communication between consumer and company, meaning you can find out exactly what’s lurking in your Saturday night tipple.

Why not just avoid non vegan products?

Many non-veggies have questioned why vegans and vegetarians would still want to consume a product when historically it contains traces of animal product. However, such a large brand not providing a vegan alternative but actually changing their main product should be hailed as a success in the vegan community. Rather than consumers being faced with a choice as to whether they should ‘go vegan’ or not, Guinness have made the decision for them.

Now, whenever someone is enjoying a pint, bottle or can of the black stuff, vegans can be safe in the knowledge that no fish were harmed in the making of a good night.

  • Global increase in Vegan/Vegetarian claims on food & drink launches (2011-2015) 60% 60%