Can Vegans drink beer and wine with everyone else now the suns out? The summer means only one thing; wine in pub gardens, beers on the beach, wine at weddings, beer at festivals… And being vegan doesn’t mean being confined to drinking your own tears whilst everyone else frolics happily anymore. You now have this handy guide.
Google search “Can Vegans…” and and top search is “drink beer and wine.” It’s a great question, as there is more to the process a bunch of fermented grapes and/or some wheat (who knew?). Traditionally, the most commonly used fining agents in wine were casein (a milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein) and isinglass (fish bladder protein), although this isn’t always still the case. These are essentially traces, which is why most winemakers do not disclose any of this on the label (hence our collective bafflement).
There are already promises of a brighter future, however: Marks and Spencer already leads the way with 384 vegan bottles to choose from, and the co op has 77, and is expanding its range to 100 by the end of the year. At your local Bargain Booze (does this still exist? Answers on a postcard please) there are already many delicious wines and popular labels that are certified vegan on the market:
• Charles Shaw (red wines only)
• Frey Vineyards
• Lumos Wine
• Red Truck Wines
• The Vegan Vine
• Yellowtail (red wines only; not white or rosé)
(Disclaimer: Despite my own lack of self control and very British attitude to drinking (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it), more self aware people than myself may not be as exhilarated at the thought of galloping to the nearest patch of grass with a Pina Colada at the first sign of summer. Just because vegan alcoholic is better for the planet, doesn’t mean it’s better for you my pal, so try and stay relatively sane and remember there are loads of vegan alcohol free alternatives.)
However, if you are simply gunning for it, and just wondering how you can enjoy your beer or wine fix now the sun is finally out, look no further. Websites such as barnivore.com are super fun, and allow you to search your drink and check it’s vegan, and Peta has created an amazingly comprehensive list of beer companies that don’t use animal ingredients, additives or processing agents. Below is a list of some fan favourite beers (also from vegan.com):
• Anchor Brewing Company
• Budweiser and Bud Light
• Coors and Coors Light
• Guinness (only keg though, apparently).
• Lagunitas Brewing Company
• New Belgium
• Samuel Adams Boston Lager
• Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
There are also a host of Vegan Beer Festivals popping up across the UK for the more discerning, which allow you to find your new fave. The Big Fat Vegan presents Vegan Beer Fest UK which will be held in London, Coventry, Sheffield and Glasgow this year. Animal Aid also holds vegan beer and cider festivals, and are throwing vegan festivals in Liverpool and Nottingham this May.
Not to mention the amazing vegan bars and restaurants popping up left, right and centre; most recently Made in Chelseas Lucy and Tiffany Watson who opened their vegan restaurant Tell Your Friends in Parsons Green where they will be selling a wide range of ethical beers, wines, cocktails and mocktails.
So there you have it; the world is your tofu. Just don’t overdo it and lose your skirt at a gig, throw parcels of foie gras through your love interest’s window, or get out of the bath and travel 2.5 hours across coast for a blind tinder date.