Being vegan is kinda tricky. You find that a bunch of random things you’ve never looked twice at are, in fact, not vegan. For example, tattoo ink can be made from charred animal bones. Um, excuse me?
Another thing which you might be chugging down without thinking twice (especially on a Sat night) is booze. Yep, booze can contain sneaky animal products you have no idea about.
Let’s break it down for you.
So, yeah, wine is basically made through grapes (and don’t worry, grapes are still vegan) but what they’re filtered through ain’t so great.
It’s kinda complicated, but basically wine starts out a bit cloudy, and to make it the bright, clear liquid we all know and love, winemakers filter the liquid. And they do this with ingredients that act as a ‘fining agent’ Fining agents can be made from milk protein, egg whites, gelatin and/or fish bladder protein. Bleurgh.
How can you tell if your wine is vegan? It’s tricky because all this stuff doesn’t necessarily have to be on the label (though there a few helpful ones that say vegetarian/vegan).
Also, just FYI, certain wines can be vegan while the rest of the range is not. So, like, you reeeally have to stay on your toes.
The Birthday Bottle: Dom Perignon by Moët & Chandon (but FYI, other Moët bottles may not be vegan).
The Thank-God It's Thursday Bottle: Giesen Marlborough Sauv Blanc (all the sauv's are veg, but the other wines may not be).
Same kind of deal for beer—the ingredients themselves are usually totally vegan-friendly, but they can mess it up with some funky stuff near the end. Same kind of stuff too: dairy products and those damn fish bladders again. Some types of sweeter beers can have a lil honey in them too, and milk stouts can have uh, milk products in them. (Oh, and the same goes for cider.)
The Craft Beer: Moon Dog Old Mate (the only beer in this range that's a no-go is 'Splice of Heaven')
The Not-So Craft Beer: Carlton Draught (delicious, cheap and 100% vegan. Nice.)
If the hard stuff is your drink of choice, you’ve got it a lot easier than wine and beer drinkers. We expect that you veggos know not to pick up a bottle of Bailey’s and expect it to be vegan (guys, cream is literally in the name).
Luckily, most clear liquids are pretty safe bets—but of course, it’s always best to double check.
For Your Shelf: ALL Johnnie Walker Whisky products
For a Shot Glass: ALL Absolut vodka products
Vegan Booze? There's An App For That
We’ve told you not to put your faith in labels, so where should you put it? Barnivore.com is a website with a pretty freakin’ comprehensive list of all things vegan-friendly and vegetarian-friendly, plus those that are not.
Just search it next time you’re in the BWS drive-through. They don’t have an app yet (come on, we all have the Internet on our phones) but they’re working on it. Until then, there’s a couple of apps with information filtered from the site, like veggiebeers (free) or VeganXpress (not free).
Sorry to burst your vegan bubble. But better know now then never, right? Go on—have a bevvy to celebrate your new-found knowledge.
Image credit: Annika Kafcaloudis