What makes Beer not Vegan?

There’s nothing wrong with having a pint every now and then, as long as you’re of the legal age of course. And some of us have it in our daily lifestyle as a casual drink. But what do our vegan pals think about it?

When we think of beer, things like yeast, barley mart, hops with some fruit along the lines, etc come into our heads. This is true but the ingredient list doesn’t end there. 

At least in some if not more cases. So is beer even vegan and if not then what makes beer not vegan? Let’s dive into it!

Beer: How’s a pint made?


At its core, a beer consists of water, malted barley as a source of starch, hops for the respective flavoring, and a brewer’s yeast which is used for fermentation of the beer. So far, it all sounds vegan-friendly, right?

Well, it’s not always so vegan-friendly. Many brewers add additional ingredients in their beers such as isinglass, gelatin, glycerin, and casein which in turn makes beer non-vegan. 

What are these ingredients and why are they added to your beers? 

Let’s find out!

Isinglass: A fishy situation?

Isinglass is a form of collagen that is obtained from fish. While it is used as a clarifier in beer, the fact that it is obtained from fish makes it a fast no-go for the vegan society. Its use as a fining in beer leads to the precipitation of the yeast which then leaves the bear clear.

Gelatin: To clear the Beer

The role of gelatin is also a bit similar to isinglass but the difference lies in how we get the gelatin. The thing is, gelatin is a protein that is obtained by boiling the skin and bones, ligaments, and tendons of animals like cows or pigs. 

Well, this all sounds pretty non-vegan to us, and PETA as well as their stance on gelatin is also pretty clear which makes the vegans avoid beer.

Glycerin: A bittersweet relation

Now, this is a tricky one. Why? Because glycerin can be obtained from two sources which are plant oil and animal fats. Some manufacturers, if not many don’t specify what kind of glycerin they’re using in their beers which can cause vegans to go up and down the hill. 

While glycerin is also naturally produced in beer during the fermentation process and the main use of glycerin is preservation, still it would be a good idea for vegans to keep an eye out by researching the beer brand.

So is there any vegan beer?

Veganism has been up on the rise for the past couple of years and so has the variety of vegan products. Just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you have to banish beer from your life. Many manufactures make vegan beer and generally German and Belgium beers are vegan as they use the traditional brewing methods in which no animal products are used unlike most British and other beers. So have a good one mate!

About Mark Miller

I'm Mark, and I am one of the two faces behind CodeVegan. I co-founded CodeVegan alongside Lila. To give you a little background, my journey here hasn't been an easy one. So, for all of you out there struggling, I've been there. You're not alone! Like many of you, I grew up a meat-eater, but I soon realized the impact this had on the world. I've been a vegan for the last ten years, and life has never been better. It takes time to adjust, but it's worth it in the end. Now, my lifestyle choice is an integral part of who I am. In my early days, there wasn't much in the way of information either, so with this blog, I'm here to make sure that doesn't happen to you.

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