After years of pressure by vegetarians and vegans, makers of the creamy stout Guinness is going vegan. According to The New York Times, the Irish company announced it will stop using fish bladders during the brewing process, making it fully vegetarian and vegan friendly brew.
Fish and Beer Was a Thing?
Shocked? Who knew fish guts were a part of the brewing process? Few beer enthusiasts were probably aware that the frothy pints contained any fish organs at all. It is actually a norm for cask beers to be filtered using isinglass, a collagen harvested from fish swim bladders. Isinglass is used to separate out unwanted solids like yeast particles from beer and wine, dating back to the early 19th century and beyond.
Guinness stated that it will address this vegan issue and request for change through a direct “investment in a state-of-the-art filtration system” at its St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin, where Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease on the site in 1759.
The Guinness Game Plan
A new and modern filtration system is set to be installed at some time in 2016. “Whilst isinglass is a very effective means of clarification, and has been used for many years, we expect to stop using it as the new filtration asset is introduced,” the Guinness spokesman explained to The Times. There are several options to isinglass that do not contain any animal products and are comparably effective, however, Guinness has not yet disclosed which.
This news follows a public campaign and numerous petitions from beer-loving vegans, with several emphasizing the fact Guinness is not required to declare the use of isinglass on the packaging and bottles. In the United States, alcoholic beverages are not required to list ingredients on labels. Edmund Long, the spokesman for Vegan Ireland, told the New York Times that local vegans had been complaining to the company, writing letters and signing petitions for as long as he could remember, and they were thrilled by the positive decision.
If you’re freaking out about having fish in your beer now, don’t. Here is a list of beers that are totally vegan. Cheers!