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Is Your Alcohol Vegan?

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Continuation of the glossary of animal-based fining agents:

Carmine: When you find out what carmine is, a glass of Campari and lime may make your skin start to crawl. That’s because carmine is derived from the bodies of dried cochineal beetles, and is used to color Campari and many other beverages. Carmine is also called Cochineal, Cochineal Extract, Crimson Lake, Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470, E120, and Carminic Acid.

Casein: Casein is a protein derived from milk. This substance is also used in cosmetics, hair products, beauty masks, some pharmaceuticals and foods, although they may be marked “dairy free.”

A note about blood as a fining agent:  Thankfully, the use of blood as a fining and coloring agent has been outlawed in the United States and France, but you may still find this used in some Mediterranean countries.

It is also worth noting that some alcohol – liqueurs in particular – may have non-vegan sugar added at the final stage of preparation. Non- vegan sugar is filtered through bone char.

So… Wondering what you can drink without imbibing animal products? As a general rule of thumb, spirits are most likely to be vegan, followed by beer and cider, with wine coming up last for cleanliness. There are no absolutes though when it comes to alcohol, so unless the company specifies that they are vegan or you’ve contacted the company yourself, I wouldn’t risk it. Thankfully you’re not alone in your search, as there is a rather long list available online at of “vegan alcohol” to get your search started.

It is important to be aware though that the questionnaire Barnivore asks contributors to send companies before submitting their vegan listing does not specifically cover the addition of non-vegan sugar. Hopefully, the Barnivore questionnaire will soon start to cover this concern as well.

This online list was/is only made possible because vegans and conscious consumers out there have written to companies inquiring about the contents of their products and then submitted the answers from said companies back to Barnivore. So if you have a favorite brew or Bordeaux, it’s worth checking on the list. If the beverage you’re looking for isn’t on the list at all, it’s worth writing to the company and sending your response back to Barnivore (check on the next page to see how to do this). Most companies are used to these inquiries nowadays and it’s much better to be safe than sorry when it comes to blood and tendons making it into your drink. Contacting companies about the non-vegan contents of their products does more than help you decide what to purchase and imbibe.  It also shows the company that this is a growing concern and encourages them to seek vegan alternatives.

Next: How to submit a new listing to Barnivore.



Image: Graeme Weatherston /

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Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati

Gentle World is a vegan intentional community and non-profit organization, whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition. For more information about vegan food and other aspects of a vegan lifestyle, visit the Gentle World website and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.


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8:02AM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

8:54AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012
check this great source of information on how to avoid nasty hangovers

1:23AM PST on Jan 2, 2012

Wow, what a novel. I must say, Cody, a discussion that has run it's course and somebody "new"comes in and posts 4 long rambling comments, one after another, I feel compelled to check their profiles to see where they're coming from. Hmmm, the subject is alcohol, and here you are, 18 years old, and an apparent expert on the subject? How is that, can I ask?]]]

Every single ONE of your points about why human aren't omnivores (yes, we ARE!) and are herbivores, has been explained, hashed and re-hashed a dozen or more times, if you bother to read past comments from other members, all has been hashed and re-hashed a dozen times or more. Whether you chose to agree or not agree, that's your call but it's really boring to re-read what is now months' old stuff andstated so many times and disputed even more, your opinions are just a slightly differely worded version of the "same ol".

12:56AM PST on Jan 2, 2012

(cont 4) can also expose the carnivore/omnivore lie by examining how each society, culture, race, religion and ethnicity justifies eating certain animals because they like some animals and dislike others, acquiring a taste for some and an aversion to others. These discriminatory discrepancies wreak of fake carnivorism/omnivorism.

If people from all walks of life ever sat down together for a meal, veganism is the only meal that would not offend anyone. At this table of peace, Americans would say, "We're not eating dogs, cats and horses, right?" Muslims and Orthodox Jews would say, "You're not feeding us pork, tonight?" Indians sit down and say, "We're not eating beef, right?" Cows are sacred animals in India. Seventh Day Adventists, Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and Rastafarians would take out all the other animal products because all are vegetarian, with most being vegan. Atheist vegans take out any other animal product you might think of. The only thing left to eat that everybody could agree upon would be stir-fried tofu or some other vegan meal.

If humans want to be ethical creatures, then we have to be ethical to other species even if they don't have the mental capacity to return morality to us. We already act ethically towards humans who are incapable of understanding ethics and returning morality, so this isn't even a radical stretch. Human babies don't understand ethics. Most severely mentally retarded people don't understand ethics. But that doesn't give us the right

12:56AM PST on Jan 2, 2012

(cont 3) There are no claws on the human hand, although claws are a trademark of the carnivore and the omnivore.

When we drive down the highway and spot a dead animal on the side of the road, I'm quite sure people don't get excited, start to salivate, come to a screeching halt, jump out of the car, scare the crows away and start munching directly on the dead animal. Real carnivores and omnivores eat dead animals on the side of the road. We always cook meat before eating it, even though lions don't have gazelle barbeques in the jungles of Tanzania. All carnivores and omnivores eat bloody, raw, bacteria-laden flesh right from the bone. This includes the eyes, nose, face, toes, tail, anus, inner organs, blood and the fur. Humans have to cook specific parts of the dismembered animal so we don't become violently ill. We also don't possess the Ph balance in our stomach to break down raw, bacteria-laden flesh.

To prove beyond a reasonable doubt that humans are herbivores, remember the two-year-old in the crib with the bunny rabbit and the apple comment in the opening ethics section? Understand humans have no carnivorous or omnivorous instincts whatsoever when we're born and growing up. There isn't a speck of carnivorism nor an iota of omnivorism in us. We acquire a taste for animal products after they're forced down our throats during childhood.

I can also expose the carnivore/omnivore lie by examining how each society, culture, race, religion and ethnicity justifies eating

12:55AM PST on Jan 2, 2012

(cont 2) The relatively short intestinal length in carnivores and omnivores, along with the relatively smooth interior surface, allow rotting animal flesh, animal protein, cholesterol and saturated fat to pass through quickly; that is why it's impossible for any real carnivore or omnivore to get clogged arteries. Clogged arteries, however, kills 50 percent of all meat-eating humans!

Dr. William Castelli, director of the Framingham Heart Study, supports the aforementioned findings with additional claims about human cancer rates dropping 60 percent if people stopped eating meat, cheese, milk and eggs.

Humans and other herbivores have carbohydrate digestive enzymes in their saliva, meaning our bodies were created for fruits and vegetables. Animal products have no complex carbohydrates, which is why carnivores and omnivores lack carbohydrate digestive enzymes in their saliva. Human teeth are broad, short, blunt, flat and spade-shaped like the teeth of other herbivores, not the fanged-mouths of carnivores and omnivores. Herbivores have canines, incisors and molars, which are used for ripping rough fruits like apples and carrots, or nuts.

If your lower jaw moves from side to side—and you grind and chew your food—then you are an herbivore. The jaws of carnivores and omnivores only move up and down, vertically. They don't chew, just rip and swallow. Humans sweat through their pores to cool down. They don't pant like dogs, cats or lions. There are no claws on the hu

12:55AM PST on Jan 2, 2012

(continued) professor at Baylor University, states, "Human beings are not natural carnivores. When we kill animals to eat them, they end up killing us because their flesh—which contains cholesterol and saturated fat—was never intended for human beings who are natural herbivores." Dr. Milton Mills wrote an indisputable essay about human physiology as well. In their book The Vegetarian Way, nutritionists Virginia and Mark Messina compiled an easy-to-understand chart comparing human bodies to those of herbivores, omnivores and carnivores. That chart is shown just below:
Chart comparing natural herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, and humans

Let's compare the bodies of humans and herbivores to the bodies of carnivores and omnivores. First, the length of intestine in humans and other herbivores falls somewhere between 7 and 13 times the length of the trunk/torso section of the body. In contrast, the length of intestine in carnivores and omnivores is only 3 to 6 times the length of the trunk/torso. (The length of trunk or torso is used as the means of comparison rather than overall body length or height because humans are bipedal animals whereas most nonhuman animals are quadrupeds.) Moreover, the interior surface of human intestines is rather heavily fluted and striated, whereas the interior intestinal surfaces of carnivorous and omnivorous animals tend to be smooth in comparison. The relatively short intestinal length in carnivores and omnivores, along with the relati

12:54AM PST on Jan 2, 2012

"Why do vegans push so hard to "convert" omnivores (which is natural) to their way of addressing things?"
Change doesn't magically happen. Slavery didnt end without people "converting" to being in favor of abolition. Why does society "force" the belief that rape is wrong? Plus, many don't.
How is a human an omnivore? Our anatomy is that of a plant-eater.

"Humans Are Herbivores

Most people believe humans are carnivorous or omnivorous creatures—atop the food chain—who have been eating meat since the beginning of time. However, tools, weapons, power and intelligence have not magically transformed our physiology and turned us into carnivores or omnivores. I believe a few sharks, hyenas and piranha would like to have a word with us about who's ahead of who in the food chain. Additionally, most herbivores like rhinos, hippos and gorillas could easily kill a human being, if provoked. These animals are also ahead of us in the food chain. Humans, historically and scientifically, have always been near the bottom of the food chain. Killing, during a one-on-one confrontation without weapons, and the ability to consume bloody raw flesh right from the bone without the side effect of disease, have always been the only true factors in determining placement in the food chain.

Most medical experts will attest to the fact that humans are completely herbivorous, plant-eating creatures. Dr. William Roberts, editor-in-chief of The American Journal of Cardiology and a profess

11:02PM PDT on Oct 26, 2011

Geez, Clara, you're responding to a comment made AGES ago? I'm clearly not offended by you at all. I asked a pertinent and relative question.........WHY do some vegans feel the need to "convert" others in the first place? If you think I was offended, then it would seem that YOU'RE the one being defensive, not me. It wouldn't be the first time, however, that a vegan tries to divert it to being the other way. Wonder why that is?

11:25AM PDT on Oct 26, 2011

diane L I said I'm not trying to offend people with my comment.
Your the one being over defensive.

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