We have a whole series of Is It Vegan? posts, covering everything from honey to pasta, and some of these issues are far more contentious than others. Many of our articles are forced to sit on the fence, or provide answers that effectively say “yes, it is, but…”. Others boil down to how far you take your veganism and where you draw your own personal line. Thankfully, with Guinness this isn’t the case and we can confidently and happily say that all Guinness beers are vegan!
As we report in our Is Beer Vegan? feature, over the last few years, Guinness set about making their beers 100% vegan. This process was first announced in 2015 and was completed in 2018, with Guinness working through their different drinks products and different methods of delivery, including draught Guinness, bottled and canned.
How Guinness Became Vegan
The issue that makes a lot of beers non-vegan is how they are filtered, or fined to use the technical term. In order to create a clearer product many breweries used animal products as finings to help filtration. The most common was isinglass, derived from the swim bladders of fish, although others have been used too. This helped remove yeast and other substances to create a clear, uncloudy beer that manufacturers thought the public wanted.
In recent years, as veganism has become more widespread, many brewers have sort to make their beers vegan friendly. Whilst many modern craft brewers have left their beers unfined (that is to say, cloudy and unfiltered) others, especially mass-market breweries, have used mechanical filtration instead.
It was thought that such mechanical methods would alter the taste, texture or character of the beer and initially there was some resistance to this method of filtration. However, modern methods of mechanical filtration have been shown not to alter beer at all and over the past few years Guinness has adopted this method globally.
Guinness Confirms Beers Are 100% Vegan
As they attest when asked if Guinness is vegan:
Yes, our new state-of-the-art filtration process has removed the use of isinglass as a means of filtration and vegans can now enjoy a pint of Guinness Draught, whether from the keg, bottle or from a can.
In relation to different Guinness beers they go on to add:
Guinness Original, Guinness Extra Stout and Guinness Foreign Extra Stout are now suitable for vegans thanks to our new filtration system.
Guinness is available in more than 100 countries around the world, with West Africa (it is hugely popular in Nigeria and Cameroon) doing their bit to take the total amount of Guinness consumed globally to a hangover-inducing 1.8bn pints. And, all 1.8bn, whether from the pub on draught or from the bottle or can, are 100% vegan.
Older Stock & Non-Beer Products
As with everything, there is always a but. We’re being ultra-careful here but note that as Guinness’s vegan conversion is relatively recent, if you happen to find a couple of dusty old cans at the back of your Nan’s cupboard, they might not be vegan. That said, Guinness has a reasonably short shelf life, so the chances are that if your drop of the Black Stuff is in date, it’s vegan, so enjoy!
One other thing to mention is that non-beer products that carry the Guinness name and logo, from crisps to fudge to pretzels and a whole host of other foods, may well not be vegan. As such, always check the label for the ingredients and refer to our Is It Vegan? article if you are unsure of anything listed.