Is Your Beer Vegan? Can Vegans Drink Beer?

Is that beer your drinking vegan? You might be surprised to find that some beers are filtered through products derived from animals such as isinglass and gelatin.

Other beers directly contain animal products such as honey. I have been in communication with a few breweries in an attempt to find out which beers are vegan. Below are the results.

Each brewery has a table of information and a link to a information page. The table contains the brewery name, whether its beer is vegan and possible concerns pertaining to other animal rights issues and/or information.

For the purposes of this list a beer is considered vegan if no animal products are used as an ingredient or in the manufacture of said product.

A question mark means that the brewery has refused to respond to inquiries about the status of its products. I would recommend avoiding the purchase of these companies’ products until they deliver upon the issued requests.

Simply, I believe a company that refuses to respond has something to hide. They would rather mislead consumers as opposed to being truthful about their products. 

Keep in mind that a brewery could change its manufacture process, introduce a new beer, or conceal the use of animal products. Accordingly, this chart is only as accurate as the information provided.

 = Vegan           = Not Vegan

 = Waiting on Reply  

BreweryVeganPossible Concerns
Alaskan Brewing Co.The beer Smoked Porter has its malt prepared at a facility that also smokes salmon. Some of the used grain is shipped off to be used as livestock feed.
AleSmith Brewing Company The grains used to filter the beer are then used
as a high protein food for dairy cows. 
Allagash Brewing Company Used Grain sold for livestock feed.
Anchor Brewing The grains used to filter the beer are then used
as a high protein food for dairy cows.
Anderson Valley Brewing Company (AVBC) Used grain is sent to farmers to be used as livestock feed. 
Angel City Brewing – – 
Angelic Brewing Used grain is sent to a farmer to be used as livestock feed. 
Anheuser-Busch, Inc. Keeps animals for entertainment via SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, and the Budweiser Clydesdale horses.
Appalachian Brewing Company Used grain used as livestock feed.
Arcadia Brewing – – 
Atlantic Brewing Company Watch for Brother Adam’s Honey Bragget as it contains honey. 
August Schell Brewing Co. The grains used to filter the beer are then used
as a high protein food for dairy cows. 
Avery Brewing Co.– – 
Back Road Brewery – – 
Bad Frog – – 
Ballast Point Brewing Company – – 
Barley Creek Brewing Company Specialty beers are fined with isinglass and some contain animal products. All other beers fined with gelatin. Grain used as feed. 
Bayern Brewing Used grain is sent to an “organic rancher” (?).
Bayhawk AlesStout and Hefe Weizen are vegan the other products 
are filtered with animal products some of the time. [16] Honey Blonde Ale contains honey.
Bear Creek Brewing Co.Spent grain used by a farmer for feed. 
Bear Republic Brewing CompanySpent grain given to a farmer for feed.
Big Horn Brewing (RAM Int. LLC)Spent grain is used by area farmers as livestock feed.
Big Sky Brewing CompanyUsed grain is used as cattle feed on ranches.
Big Time BreweryWatch for Frosty’s Special Winter Warmer as it contains honey.
Black Mountain Brewing Co.– – 
Bonnema Brewing Co.The grains used to filter the beer are then used
as a high protein food for dairy cows.
Boston Beer CompanyThe beer Cask Conditioned Ale contains gelatin. Spent grain is sent to farmers for livestock feed.
Boulevard Brewing Co.The grains used to filter the beer are then sold
to be used as food for livestock.
Breckenridge Brewery– – 
BridgePort Brewing Company– – 
Bristol Brewing CompanyWatch for Beehive Honey Wheat as it contains honey. Spent grain is used by a ranch for food.
Brooklyn Brewery– – 
Buzzards Bay BrewingUsed grain from the brewery is picked up by a local dairy to be fed to the cows.
Capital BreweryUsed Grain from brewing sold to farmers for livestock feed.
Capitol City Brewing CompanyUsed grain is picked up by an area farmer to feed a herd of over 100 cows.
Carolina Brewing CompanyUsed grain brewing sold to farmers for cow feed. Helles Honey Bock contains honey.
Cedar Brewing CompanyUsed grain from brewing given to farmer to be used as cow feed.
Coors Brewing CompanyUsed grain is pelletized and sold as an agricultural product (feed).
Deschutes BreweryIndividual brewers determine how to brew each pub beer (98% vegan). Ask before ordering. Distributed beer is 100% vegan.Spent grain used as livestock feed.
Dogfish Head Craft BreweryThe beer Midas Touch contains honey. All other beers are vegan.
Dogwood Brewing CompanyI.P.A. is sometimes fined using gelatin. Used grain sent to a dairy farm and a bakery.
Flying Dog BreweryGrain is sent to a farmer who uses it as “animal feed.”
Goose Island Beer Company Goose Island’s Kolsch beer is clarified using isinglass. All other beers are vegan.
Grand Ridge BrewerySpent grain is used on local farms.
Hale’s Ales Brewery & Pub Used grain is given to a local farmer.
Kalamazoo Brewing Co.Eccentric Ale contains honey and Suzie’s Sweet Stout contains lactose. All other brews are vegan. Spent grain is sold to a farmer.
Latrobe Brewing Co. – – 
Lucky Labrador Brewing Company All beers are clarified by way of finings except the beer Organic Golden which as the name implies is organic in composition.
Michigan Brewing Company – – 
New Holland Brewing Co.Grain used by local farmer.
Otter Creek Brewing, Inc
Pabst Brewing Company Used grain is used as livestock food, most of which are dairy cows.
Pete’s Brewing Company – –
Portland Brewing Company Used grain is used on a farm to feed cows.
Pyramid Breweries, Inc 
Redhook Brewing CompanyUsed grain is used on a dairy farm to feed cows.
San Francisco Brewing Company Grain is taken by a farmer for use as livestock feed.
Shipyard Brewing Company 
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Spent grain used as “animal feed.”
Southhampton Publick House Spent grain is given to a farmer who is in the cattle business.
Tied House Brewing Company Spent grain used as “animal feed.”
TommyKnocker Brewery – – 
Troegs Brewing CompanyMad Elf (holiday beer) contains honey. Spent grain is sent to farmers. 
Two Brothers Brewing Company

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Beer Information and Possible Concerns

There is a bit of confusion among beer drinkers and even brewers about what is animal in nature and what is not.

This section is meant to clarify a few issues regarding materials used in brewing beer. For instance, some brewers say by strict definition no beer is vegan because yeast is used in the brewing process.

As you will see below these individuals are misinformed. If you ever doubt a brewer’s comments please resort back to this page for clarification.

Isinglass

Isinglass is used to filter and clarify beer in a process called fining. Traditional isinglass is made from the swim bladders of fish and is accordingly not vegan. As if deciding whether beer is vegan wasn’t hard enough, there is now a synthetic version of isinglass which is vegan.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

This is a filter material made from the fossil remains of unicellular microscopic organisms called diatoms (ancient algae). It is also used in animal feed and as a safe alternative to pesticide. Many brewery websites refer to this material as being from animals or creatures, however, it is not. DE is derived from fossilized plants.

Used Grain

In the process of brewing beer the husks from the grain become separated and are often used in turn to aid in the filtering of the beer.

Once filtered the husks are no longer needed. Most breweries donate or sell their spent grain to area farmers who in turn use it as a high protein feed for their livestock. Given the treatment and abuses livestock face, all of which are documented on this site, some vegans may choose not to consume a product made by a brewery that allies itself with the livestock industry.

Others, seeing that the grain husks are not made specifically for animal feed, may not find any reason to cease consumption of these products. If one takes the former position then drinking beer is virtually impossible as almost all breweries give or sell their grain to farmers.

Gelatin and Bone Meal

These are used as fining agents in beer. Gelatin is derived from boiling animal tissues and bone meal is made from crushed or ground animal bones.

Lactose

Lactose is a disaccharide sugar taken from milk. It is used to add sweetness or a smooth character to beer.

Yeast

Some individuals seem to believe that yeast is an animal. It is not. Yeast is a fungus used to ferment alcohol. A fungus according to the Webster-Merriam online dictionary is usually classified as a plant lacking chlorophyll.

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Honey

I won’t delve into the honey and is it vegan debate here, but some vegans consume it and others do not. I will say that bees naturally filter honey with their bodies, meaning they must consume it (in a manner of speaking) and then expel it afterward. In a sense then it is an animal product.

Not all beers that state honey on the label contain it in the ingredients. There’s a product made from malted barley called “honey malt” that flavors beer in a way similar to honey. Although, it has been my experience that most beers that say honey on the label do indeed contain that product.

Guilt by Association

Some breweries have additional concerns accompanying their listing. This does not mean that their beers are either included or excluded from being considered vegan.

I have tried to create this list from a general understanding of what I think most vegans would choose, but at the same time keep it broad enough to accommodate others.

A beer is considered vegan for the purposes of this page if it doesn’t contain or use animal products. However, I have included any additional information that may also effect the decisions of vegans in the concerns section.

Some vegans may find the dealings of Anheuser-Busch and its operation of animal “attractions” to be unacceptable and refuse to buy their products, while others may view this as a separate issue.

That is why I have included a concerns section. This extra bit of information is included to allow each individual reader to be informed and come to their own conclusion.

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