A Vegan-Friendly Guinness Stout Is Brewing

Who knew? The iconic Irish beer contains an animal product. But the company is reworking its centuries-old brewing method so vegans, too, can enjoy a pint.

A Vegan-Friendly Guinness Stout Is Brewing Photo (cc) by Peter Baker

If you’re tipping back a pint of Guinness, there’s a good chance you’re swallowing trace amounts of fish bladder. But that’s about to change.

The iconic Irish dry stout is going vegan – and fish bladder free – by refining its 256-year-old brewing method.

By now, you’re likely wondering what fish bladders have to do with Guinness. Let me explain.

Like most beers, Guinness is made from vegan-friendly products like barley, hops, yeast and water.

But the iconic Irish brew uses a gelatinous substance known as isinglass, which is made of dried fish bladders, to filter out yeast particles in the finished stout, Consumerist reports. It’s possible that tiny amounts of isinglass make it into the beer, preventing Guinness from being vegan-friendly.

“Isinglass has been used widely within the brewing industry as a means of filtration for decades,” Guinness said in a statement. “However, because of its use we could not label Guinness as suitable for vegetarians and have been looking for an alternative solution for some time.”

The solution comes in the form of a new state-of-the-art filtration system at Ireland’s St. James’s Gate Brewery. The new animal-product-free filtration method will be in place by late 2016.

Pro-vegan groups have applauded Guinness’ move, The New York Times reports.

“We are always happy to see another product become suitable for vegans, especially because this one is very iconic here in Ireland,” Vegan Ireland spokesman Edmund Long told the Times. “It’s one of the products you associate with Ireland; Guinness is usually up there.”

But according to Consumerist, Guinness won’t be vegan-friendly everywhere.

… though the company brews in 49 countries, only Guinness’ flagship brewery in Dublin will be using the vegetarian-friendly method. That covers Ireland, the United Kingdom and North America, but everyone else is stuck with possible fish bladders particles.

To a new fish-bladder-free Guinness in late 2016, I say Cheers!

Had you heard of isinglass before? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Krystal Steinmetz
Krystal Steinmetz
A former television and radio reporter, I stay at home with my two young children, run a small craft business and freelance for Money Talks News. I have a BA in journalism ... More


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