Guinness Is Not Vegan-Friendly, But These Beers Are

guinness is not vegan

Guinness isn’t just the official beer of St. Patrick’s Day–it’s also great in recipes, has a rich history, and is one of the most successful selling beers of all time. But it’s also (for the most part) made with isinglass, which is a fish byproduct, and makes the heady brew unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans. If you’re treating yourself to a glass of ale tomorrow night, opt for one of the ones on our festive vegan Irish beer list.

In moderation (that is, not binge-drinking, which is terrible for you), beer is a pretty great way to celebrate, even if you’re not Irish, or not a huge fan of St. Patrick, who was not actually and also kind of a jerk. But if you don’t eat animals or animal products, it can be tough to know which brews are within your dietary confines, and which are made with fish products, or are filtered through either bone ash or, like Guinness, isinglass–especially since labeling of ingredients when it comes to liquor and beer is so unregulated. So what can you get down with?

Enter Barnivore, the handiest site for drinkin’ vegans. An index of responses from companies, clarifying their ingredients and veg status.

Here are some great vegetarian and vegan beer choices, courtesy of Barnivore, for you to celebrate with on St. Patrick’s Day (or any day). They’re not all made IN Ireland–some are just Irish in style or in recipe–but they should all help get you in a good state. And if you’ve got a favorite, be sure to share it in the comments. The more the merrier. Sláinte!**


**Which roughly translates to “health!” And that’s what we’re all about, right?

Image: Guinness

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    • danny

      The fish by product is used to line the barrels but not all the barrels use that product. In short you can’t know which bottles could contain small amounts of contamination, so for me its kind of like which farmers used manure to grow veggies. I am vegan but on the 17th I’m having guinness

    • Abram

      thanks for the info. I checked the websites and these are indeed vegan, but Not Beers. These are all Wines. Ah well, at least they got the alcohol.

    • Laurent Mousson

      Nope, isinglass is not used to line the barrels. Its a clarifying agent used to drag the suspended yeast down at the end of conditioning / maturation, just before filtration. No significant amount of it remains in the beer, although indeed it has been in contact with fish product, whichis a problem for many vegetarians and vegans.
      Alternatives are gelatine (i.e. pork) and polyclar, which is a polythene powder with an electrostatic load. Yum.
      So-called vegan finings (irish moss etc.) AFAIK are kettle finings used during the boil of the wort, before fermentation and cannot be used in the conditioning tank.

    • Tere

      Since Guinness is my favorite, and I had checked before, you worried me. But using your own site, Guinness Extra Stout, US version, is vegan. Headline misleading, and will turn vegans away from Guinness if they don’t dig further. Can’t find my favorite wine, but that is probably because it is a cheapo – Herding Cats Merlot/Pinotach (?) blend. Glad for the site, tho, and will bookmark.