the conscientious alky

I’m not much of a drinker, and when I do drink, it’s usally drinky drinks, like vodka & ginger ale, for which I am often made fun of. But they’re tasty and a pretty safe vegan bet, so screw ’em. I’ve always hated beer and wine—and that’s where you gotta be careful. Even if there’s no egg or milk in your alcoholic beverage of choice, animal glycerin, bone char, casein, gelatin, and isinglass are often used in its production.

Gross, right? Even if you’re not vegan, that still sounds pretty repellent. I would think the best advertising strategy for a vegan wine would be “No fish bladders used in the making of this wine.” It’d be the “Huh?” heard ’round the world—so few people have any idea these ingredients are used in their favorite libations. Maybe if the companies had to disclose this information…oh, there I go again, looking for corporate responsibility.

As far as guessing, there are some trends, like German beer is traditionally vegan, due to the purity laws, but English beers are traditionally not. Wines, on the other hand, seem to have no pattern—some labels have vegan reds but not whites and others are reversed. You can’t trust “organic” to mean “vegan.” Bull blood has been added to wine, and guess what, some bulls would qualify as “organic.”

There’s a 99% chance your bartender won’t have a clue, so you’re on your own, buddy. After researching this a bit online, it seems some of the companies aren’t even sure what goes into their products. Good news: Barnivore has compiled a vegan booze list, of beer, wine, and liquor. So double-check if it makes you feel better, pick your brands/varieties, and stick with ’em, I suppose.

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