As a vegan, it can be be tough trying to monitor the ingredients in everything you buy. Sure, you don’t have to worry too much about your food when you make all your meals fresh, but what about your drinks? Because as weird as it might seem, your favourite drink might have more than just alcohol in it! Brewmasters, winemakers, and distillers often include animal ingredients in their products directly, or use them in the processing and filtration. Additionally, dairy products are often added to the final recipe—and you won’t find any of these ingredients on the label!
As weird as it might seem, your favourite drink might have more than just alcohol in it!
If you’re conscious about what you eat, you should naturally be conscious of what you drink as well. Whether you’re vegan for ethical or health reasons, it doesn’t hurt to know what goes into all of your favourite wines and spirits. As someone who is vegan for both reasons, I personally want the peace of mind of knowing what goes into the alcohol that I buy, so that I can make informed buying decisions whenever I can (even if purchasing alcohol with animal ingredients doesn’t directly support companies that harm animals). But how do you know what alcohol is animal-free?
Cue Barnivore: an online catalogue of product research to help you find vegan wine, beer, and liquor. And it’s extremely simple to use, you just search their database of 21,290 products and see if your favourite drinks are free of animal ingredients. Each product entry in their database has been checked and often double or triple checked by the Barnivore community, to confirm with brewmasters, winemakers, and distillers if they include animal ingredients in their products directly, or during processing and filtration. How do these nasty ingredients make their way into your alcohol, you may ask? Well, when filtering the drinks prior to bottling, companies can use things like isinglass (from fish bladder), gelatin, egg whites, or casein, among other things (these products cling to impurities and make it easier to catch them in the filters). But there are many animal-free alternatives in use by smart companies today (and you can find them all on Barnivore!)
Some noteworthy things about Barnivore: You can also search by keywords like product type (e.g. sangria), and filter the results by “veganocity” (i.e. whether or not it is vegan) and by region, so you can quickly find what you’re looking for. Bonus: The site includes many Canadian brands, and I hope they expand to feature more VQA Ontario wines in the future!
If you want to browse Barnivore on the go, then you can download the Vegaholic mobile app, which is one of many handy vegan drinking apps on Barnivore’s list. Barnivore plans on releasing it’s own official app sometime in the near future.
Vegan Alcohol Options
The good news is that apart from cream-based liqueurs, virtually every brand of hard liquor—bourbon, whiskey, vodka, gin, and rum—is vegan. And with the help of Barnivore, I ran a list of some of my go-to spirits and wines to see which old favourites passed the Barnivore test…
- Hendrick’s Gin – Vegan
- 3 Olives Chocolate Vodka – Vegan Friendly
- Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum – Vegan Friendly
- Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Whiskey – NOT Vegan Friendly
- Red Stag Cider – NOT Vegan Friendly
- Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon – NOT Vegan Friendly
- Cupcake Wines Cabernet Sauvignon – NOT Vegan Friendly
- Sandbanks Baco Noir – Vegan Friendly
- Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc – NOT Vegan Friendly
- Jacob’s Creek Rosé – NOT Vegan Friendly
- Gallo Family Vineyards Rosé – NOT Vegan Friendly
- Sutter Home – Some Vegan Friendly
- Inniskillin Table Wine – NOT Vegan Friendly
- Woodbridge – NOT Vegan Friendly
- Pelee Island – NOT Vegan Friendly
The results of my Barnivore searches revealed some good news and some bad news. The good news is that almost all of my favourite spirits are vegan friendly, but the bad news is that a majority of my favourite wines are not vegan friendly. So in light of these new developments, I have accepted the challenge of finding and reviewing the best vegan wines, which I will post in part two of my Vegan Drinking Guide (I will update this post with the link as soon as it goes live!)
Have you ever tried Barnivore? If so, what are your favourite vegan alcohol brands? Do you use any vegan alcohol apps that you would reccomend? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.