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How To Make Sure Your St. Patrick’s Day Beer Is Vegan

Published on March 17, 2015 by   ·   105 Comments Pin It
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It’s St. Patrick’s Day, which for many of us is an excuse to put on a strand of green light-up beads and drink too much on a weeknight. The holiday was originally established to honor St. Patrick and the introduction of Christianity in Ireland. In light of the celebration, restrictions on eating certain foods and drinking alcohol during Lent were lifted for the day, hence the emergence of St. Patrick’s Day as a reason to imbibe. So, if you’re thinking of bringing a little meaning back to this day of decadence, may we suggest using it as a chance to save some animals?

Seriously. You can save animals’ lives by drinking.

How To Make Sure Your St. Patrick’s Day Beer Is Vegan

Here’s the rub: Some beers, wines, and liquors are made with animal-derived ingredients, additives, or processing agents, and some aren’t. So just by choosing the animal-part-free ones, you’re helping animals.

Breweries, wineries, and distilleries filter their beverages through substances called “fining agents” prior to bottling them. This process is used to remove protein, yeast, cloudiness, “off” flavors and colorings, and other organic particles. Companies may use animal-derived fining agents including bone marrow, blood, casein (milk protein), chitin (fiber from crustacean shells), egg albumen (derived from egg whites), fish oil, gelatin (protein obtained by boiling animal parts), and isinglass (gelatin from fish bladder membranes). Thankfully, there are many common (and much less disgusting) animal-friendly fining agents, such as carbon, bentonite clay, limestone, kaolin clay, plant-derived casein, silica gel, and vegetable plaques, which are preferred by several companies. Beer can sometimes also have animal-derived ingredients and additives, such as honey.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Credit Salim Virji cc by 2.0

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is delicious and vegan! Score!

To be an animal-friendly party animal, check out PETA’s extensive list of vegan beers—including always-on-tap options such as Bud Light, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Goose Island India Pale Ale, Michelob, and Carlsberg—and Barnivore’s list of vegan wines and cruelty-free liquors. You can also download a handy app from Vegaholic that lists them all.

Choosing animal-friendly beer and wine won’t do anything to prevent a hangover, but it will certainly give you something to feel good about while you’re popping aspirin like breath mints. And if anyone gives you that snarky “What did you do last night?” question, you can honestly say that you saved a bunch of animals’ lives.

Michelle Kretzer lives in Norfolk, VA and is a staff writer for the PETA Foundation.

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Readers Comments (105)

  1. Jennofur OConnor says:

    Right on, thanks for this article. It’s something that folks don’t generally think about. But no vegan wants to drink the body parts of animals, so that list is super helpful, especially to this vegan O’Connor!

  2. Lucy P says:

    Great article, Michelle! It’s so much easier to get into the St. Paddy’s Day spirit knowing that no animals were harmed for my celebratory beverage. I’ll be sure to check out PETA’s list of vegan booze. 

  3. Heather Moore says:

    I agree. I don’t drink beer often, but when I do, I prefer beer that isn’t tainted with gross animal parts! Thanks for the reminders!

  4. KimMarie says:

    Thanks for sharing this awesome article! Great information and links. Go, Michelle!

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