Vegans And Alcohol 101

Tags - #Vegan_Blog

If you’re confused about drinking alcohol or alcoholic drinks then, this is the guide for you. Well, cover everything from what is vegan and what involves animal products.

The types of drinks that you can have. What will be the effects of alcohol on your system from a vegan standpoint and also some tips along the way? So let’s start with the most basic question.

Is alcohol Vegan Friendly?

Normally alcoholic drinks are not vegan. Some of these drinks may have used animal products in the production process like filtration involving isinglass. (more on isinglass below)

Although most of the clear spirits undergo a vegan-friendly filtration process still it makes sense to verify from the manufacturers if it is 100% vegan or not.

So now that you know that many alcoholic drinks have animal products in them, let’s see what kind of animal products are involved in the production process.

Common Non-Vegan Ingredients

Some of the most common non-vegan ingredients and in which drinks can you spot them.

Milk and Cream

These dairy products are some of the most common ingredients that are added to beer and liqueurs. Milk and cream give it a creamy and rich flavor that makes them so desirable. You can also spot them in many cocktails and blended drinks.

Whey, Casein, Lactose

MIlk byproducts as these are used as a fining agent. The purpose of a fining agent is to soften and reduce the astringency and/or bitterness. Fining agents help remove proteins capable of haze formation or reduce the color by the absorption and precipitation of polymeric phenol and tannis.

These fining agents react with wine either chemically or physically to form new complexes that can be separated from the wine.


Egg white protein, which is also known as albumin is often used as a fining agent in wines and some cocktails.


Honey is used to make a fermented drink called mead and used as a sweetener in other alcoholic beverages.


Derived from animal skin, bones, and cartilage gelatin is used as a fining agent for a variety of alcoholic drinks.


Isinglass is obtained from the dried air bladder of fish. It is a form of collagen that is used for clarification or fining agents in drinks like beer and wine.

Cochineal and carmine

This might sound gross but, carmine is a red dye obtained from a scaly insect called cochineal. Carmine is added to some alcoholic beverages to give them a distinct red color.


A byproduct from the exoskeleton of insects and shellfishes, This fibrous fining agent is used in some alcoholic drinks. Although a vegan version of this exists nowadays.

What are some vegan and non-vegan alcoholic drinks?

These are some of the popular alcoholic drinks that many consume. If some drinks are not covered here you can always check out A place for vegans to find more about which alcoholic drinks are vegan or not.

You should also read the labels as some drinks are marked as vegan. Which guarantees that no animal ingredients or animal testing were done to make the product.

Vegan alcohol still has the risks

If you’re going vegan for health reasons then it’s better to limit your alcohol intake. Just because vegan wine or beer doesn’t contain any animal product doesn’t mean that it’s healthier for you. The main reason it's bad is because of the alcohol itself.

Limit yourself to 14 units of alcohol a week. Even if you are consuming 14 units make sure that it’s spread over the week. Drinking too much in one sitting can cause long-term health issues.

These health problems include cancers of the mouth, throat, and breast. Alcohol can also cause heart and liver disease.

What’s more, if you’re trying to lose weight on a vegan diet, drinking too much alcohol will also cause weight gain. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, drinking a lot of it is like a heavy meal. Alcohol can also affect your skin making it dehydrated and causing puffy spots.

The best way to get the best of a vegan diet is by cutting out drinking completely. Although hard for some this can have many positive long-term benefits.

Vegans and alcohol tolerance

People often say that vegans have a lower tolerance for alcohol. Although there is no scientific study to support this claim as these come mostly from Reddit or quora users.

There can be a few reasons for it. First, A healthy vegan would digest food faster as most vegan food digests a little faster. Which can make some get drunk a bit faster.

Second, Most vegans are women. Naturally, women tend to have fewer enzymes to metabolize alcohol than men do. Although this has nothing to do with veganism, if people compare a non-vegan man to a vegan woman there will definitely be a difference in how quickly they get drunk.

Eating less processed food cause to lower the tolerance

If you tend to eat fatty foods before drinking alcohol then the absorption time will slow down. Fat sticks to the stomach lining longer slowing down the alcohol absorption.

Drinking on an empty stomach

If you ever drink on an empty stomach the rate of absorption for alcohol will be insanely fast. Giving you some of the worst hangovers and getting you wasted quickly. It is important to eat something before drinking.

The best vegan version of you

So to conclude this one, all I can say is that if you do like to enjoy your alcohol it’s better to read the labels. Lookup a few sites to make sure it’s vegan.

Eat a few things before drinking. Limit your drinking and also make sure to not drink a lot at one time, try to spread it over the week.

Although these are some things that you can do to enjoy the alcohol the best thing to do is, not having any! Most people will disagree with this statement but, putting something unnecessary in your body just to feel good is just making you dependent on it.

If you can enjoy your time without having to drink then that’s the best way to be.