Not all Vegan Beer Brands are vegan. How can you tell if a particular beer is vegan-friendly or not? The exact answer to this question can be challenging. However, I will share with you my take on this.
First, let’s see what the actual issue here is. All the ingredients in beer are usually vegan, yet some beers are not vegan. For something to be vegan it shouldn’t contain animal products but also, it shouldn’t use animal products in the process of making.
When it comes to veganism people always talk about food and seem to forget about beer and wine. We naturally assume that these drinks have nothing to do with animal products especially alcoholic ones however, this is not the case.
Table of Contents
Is beer vegan or not?
It all comes down to how it’s made.
Beer is typically made from water, barley malt, hops and yeast. Innocent ingredients, right?
However, In the process of filtering the beer prior to bottling, some brewers add finings which include animal-derived products called Isinglass (a substance obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish). It also could be Gelatin, Egg White or Sea Shells. This is to purify the beer to clear it of yeast and settle it more quickly rather than to improve flavour or texture. The purpose is to make it brighter and pure.
Alternative / Modern Finings
There are also Finings that can include plant-derived products such as Irish Moss (species of red algae) or Seaweed. It all depends on the brewer on what product they choose to include which will determine if the beer will be vegan-friendly or not.
The more traditional beer is, the more likely it’s not suitable for vegans
Some animal products are also used for flavouring beer, for instance, honey. It is easy to identify this by looking at the beer name such as ‘Hiver The Honey Beer’, and ‘Fuller’s Honey Dew’.
Also, some brewers add lactose, a milk sugar, especially some dark beers are brewed with lactose. Lactose is unfermentable when exposed to most brewing yeasts and instead, it will release sweetness and emulate milk stouts. This can be easy to spot on beers name such as ‘Mikkeller Milk Stout’, ‘ ‘Lancaster Milk Stout’.
Sadly, not all brewers reveal the production process of their beer and not all products used in the processing show up as ingredients on the labels.
This is because in many countries they are not required to do so. The isinglass and gelatin are not considered to be an allergen, therefore, it’s not a requirement to specify on labels. In some countries it’s a requirement to specify ingredients in nutritional labelling on alcoholic beverages in restaurants but not in most.
So, for vegan beer lovers, the investigation could be challenging and daunting. How do we overcome this? The easiest is to have a handy list of vegan-friendly beers popular in your region.
List of vegan beer brands from around the world
Our favourite Belgian vegan beers ??
There are too many Belgian beers to go through, so these are just a few that we love.
Chimay – Gold, Red, Blue, and White are all vegan
Chimay Gold, Chimay Red, Chimay White and Chimay Blue are all vegan.
Their company’s email to Barnivore.com says: “We don’t use any animal product for the production of our beers, nor any additive. We only are using first-quality products. You therefore can drink our beers safely and with a clear conscience!”
De Koninck Bolleke, De Koninck Tripel d’Anvers, De Koninck Wild Jo, De Koninck Lost In Spice, are all vegan-friendly.
Fun fact: The glass in which De Koninck beer is served is called a bolleke.
Leffe is a beer that’s very popular and can be found around the world. Leffe beer and its packaging are vegan.
The abbey of Leffe was founded in 1152
Halve Maan Brugse Zot is vegan
If you find yourself in Belgium, you can visit this family-run brewery and have a guided tour. You can have some of their delicious beers while you are there.
Brugse Zot Blond is produced by brewing four different types of malt and two varieties of hops all suitable for vegans.
Stella Artois is vegan friendly
This isn’t one of our favourites. But it’s a popular beer and I’m happy to report that Stella is vegan!
Stella Artois is a brand that’s over 600 years old. Founded in Leuven, Belgium back in 1366.
Except for Stella Artois Apple Cidre which is not vegan.
Scottish vegan beers ???????
The most well-known Scottish pint, Tennents, is in fact vegan. This includes Caledonia Australis Chardonnay, Caledonia Australis Pinot Noir and Tennent’s Caledonia Best.
Fraoch is ok as long as it’s bottled or in a keg. Cask versions are NOT VEGAN
Irish vegan beer brands ??
All Guinness except ‘Guinness The 1759’ appears to be vegan.
“Yes, our new state-of-the-art filtration process has removed the use of isinglass as a means of filtration and vegans can now enjoy a pint of Guinness Draught, whether from the keg, bottle or from a can… Guinness Original, Guinness Extra Stout and Guinness Foreign Extra Stout are now suitable for vegans thanks to our new filtration system.”
Kinnegar Scraggy Bay
The following are vegan friendly
Kinnegar Scraggy Bay India Pale Ale
Kinnegar Devil’s Backbone Amber Ale
Kinnegar Limeburner Pale Ale
Vegan beers from Germany ??
Beck’s is a classic German-style pilsner. All Beck’s beer is vegan as it doesn’t contain any animal ingredients. Beck’s, Beck’s Blue, Beck’s Gold and Beck’s Vier are all suitable for vegans.
Weihenstephaner Pilsner is vegan.
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier is vegan friendly.
Gaffel Kölsch is vegan friendly.
All Augustiner beers (as far as we know and at the time of writing) are vegan friendly. This includes:
Augustiner Lagerbier Hell, Augustiner Edelstoff, Augustiner Weißbier, Augustiner Pils, Augustiner Maximator, Augustiner Dunkel, Augustiner Heller Bock.
Vegan beers from the USA ??
Budweiser and Bud Light
Budweiser and Bud Light are both vegan-friendly as they do not contain any animal-derived ingredients.
Stay away from bud Light Clamato Chelada.
Coors and Coors Light
Coors and Coors Light are vegan in the USA.
Stay away from Coors in the UK as it’s not a vegan-friendly beer brand.
Miller Lite, High Life, and Genuine Draft
All vegan-friendly beers.
Vegan beer brands from the Netherlands ??
“We can tell you that we don’t use animal-products.” “Grolsch is brewed using completely naturally processes and no animal by-products (isinglass, gelatin, cartilage, etc.) are used to brew the beer.” They said in response to barnivore.com’s query.
Heineken is a 150+-year-old company with over 300 brands worldwide, and 165 breweries worldwide selling in over 190 countries. It’s probably one of the best-recognised beer brands around the world and it’s totally vegan friendly.
Produced by a Dutch brewery founded in 1615.
In an email to Barnivore, they said
“We can tell you that we don’t use animal-products.” “Grolsch is brewed using completely naturally processes and no animal by-products (isinglass, gelatin, cartilage, etc.) are used to brew the beer.“
The Amstel brewery was founded in 1870 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Amstel Light, Amstel Radle are all vegan. Source
Vegan beer from Mexico ??
The top-selling brand of imported beer in the United States is vegan!
Corona Extra contains barley malt, corn, hops, yeast, antioxidants (ascorbic acid), and propylene glycol alginate as a stabilizer.
Corona is a brand of beer produced by Mexican brewery Cervecería Modelo.
Pacifico is another Beer brand from Mexico which is vegan-friendly.
Vegan beer in South Korea ??
Cass Beats, Cass Fresh, Cass Ice Light, Cass Lemon, Cass Light, and Cass Red are vegan.
Cass wines are not vegan and Cass 2x may not be vegan.
We saw Cass all over South Korea, particularly at events.
Travel tip: We didn’t (and still don’t) get the game, but the atmosphere, the various crowd chants, gestures, dances and dancers at South Korean baseball games make them entertaining events to visit.
Make sure to visit games in either Seoul or Busan where the games are likelier to be bigger.
Russian Vegan beer brands ??
Baltika Brewery is the second largest brewing company in Europe and the largest in Russia
Vegan beer from Ukraine ??
Chernigivske lager beer is produced in Ukraine. It originates from the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv. It’s known locally as “Che” and is considered a national treasure in Ukraine and it’s vegan!
Vegan beer from the Philippines ??
San Miguel Pale Pilsen
San Miguel Beer is a vegan beer you can enjoy in the Philippines.
San Miguel Beer and San Miguel 0.0 are brewed in the Philippines and you can consume with a clear conscience.
Brands that you need to be careful about
Asahi is a popular Japanese global beer brand. The Asahi group owns quite a few European beer brands such as Pilsner Urquell, Kozel, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, and Grolsch Premium Pilsner.
Asahi beers such as Asahi Super Dry in the UK are vegan-friendly. So are brands such as Cricketers Arms produced in Australia. However, Asahi beer produced in Japan is not vegan.
What makes beer not vegan
In the process of filtering the beer prior to bottling, some brewers add finings which include animal-derived products called Isinglass (a substance obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish). It also could be Gelatin, Egg White or Sea Shells.
Is Guinness beer vegan?
Mostly: All Guinness except ‘Guinness The 1759’ appears to be vegan.
Is Corona beer vegan
Yes: Corona is made with natural products like rice, water, hops, refined corn starch and yeast. No animal products are involved.
Is Stella vegan? (Stella Artois)
Yes: Only four ingredients: maize, hops, malted barley and water and is suitable for vegans.
Is Coors and Coors Light vegan?
Yes: in the USA. It may not be the case in other countries. Coors in the UK is not a vegan beer.
Is Kronenbourg 1664 vegan?
In Australia? Yes
In France? Yes
In the UK? NO
Which beers are not vegan?
Cask ales, honey beers, meads, milk stouts and most craft beers.
Some popular well-known beers that are not vegan:
Foster’s, Carling, Carling, Kronenbourg from the UK.
Why do some beers have lactose?
Lactose is a sugar that brewing yeast can’t ferment. Many IPAs and craft beers use lactose too. The sweeter flavour from lactose can complement the malt.
Good news: Guinness is a dry stout and lactose-free
Is yeast vegan?
Yeast belongs to the world of Fungi (e.g., mushrooms). They are not animals and therefore not subject to the ethical concerns of veganism.
Who shouldn’t drink beer?
If you are on a keto diet
Beer contains a large number of carbs per serving and is definitely not suitable for Keto diets.
There are some lite beers that can be consumed in small quantities on a low-carb diet. Keto diets are often stricter about the carb intake so, it comes down to how much you are going to drink. In most cases, the suitable amount is unrealistically small, and it may not be worth it.
People with a history of diabetes or prediabetes
Please see this comprehensive article -> Diabetes and Alcohol by diabetes.co.uk
No ‘safe’ drinking level
According to the National Health Service of the UK, there is no such thing as a “‘safe’ drinking level”. They go on to say “If you drink less than 14 units a week, this is considered low-risk drinking.” NHS – The risks of drinking too much
Sources and Resources
barnivore.com – Best resource for looking up a specific brand
Remember to check out the online search results on barnivore.com to find out the vegan status of virtually every beer.
Peta – Which beers are suitable for vegans?
Did we miss your favourite beer brand? Let us know.