Wildcraft beer is all vegan, but why and how?
What You Need to Know about making beers vegan
— By Mike Deal
Ok, lets start with a bit of honesty here, none of us at Wildcraft are actually vegan, however, we have wanted our product to be as inclusive as possible from day 1. This is whay we have made the effort to ensure our beers are both vegan and gluten free...
Read on to find out a bit more about what makes a beer vegan, or not...
When enjoying a refreshing glass of beer, you might not immediately think about its ingredients in relation to your dietary choices.
However, for those following a vegan lifestyle, understanding the components of their beverage becomes important. So, what makes a beer vegan? The key consideration lies in the ingredients and production process. Traditional beer consists of four primary components: water, malted barley (or other grains), hops, and yeast. While these ingredients themselves are generally vegan-friendly, some factors during brewing can raise concerns.
Ingredients to think about
1. Clarifying Agents: Many beers undergo a clarification process to remove sediment and haze, enhancing their appearance. Historically, non-vegan fining agents like isinglass (derived from fish bladder), gelatin, and casein (milk protein) were used. These agents would help to settle particles, leaving a clear beer. However, at Wildcraft, we have shifted to using vegan alternatives such as Irish moss and an enzyme, together with time, patience and cold phases to ensure that the beer remains vegan-friendly.
2. Honey and Other Additives: Some craft beers incorporate non-vegan additives like honey, lactose, or even certain spices. While these can impart unique flavors, they might not align with a strict vegan diet. We will always be transparent about our ingredients so although can't promise we will never use them, you will know!!
3. Collaboration with Non-Vegan breweries and Ingredients: Breweries occasionally collaborate with other producers, like bakeries, confectioneries or other breweries to create specialty beers. These collaborations might introduce non-vegan components to the brewing process but again, we would always be completely transparent about any non vegan ingredients used.
4. Yeast Sources: Yeast is crucial for fermentation, converting sugars into alcohol. Some yeasts, although rare, are cultivated using animal-derived nutrients. However, most commercial breweries use synthetic nutrients or plant-based sources, making the yeast itself vegan-friendly.
In recent years, the rise of veganism has led to increased awareness within the brewing industry. Many breweries, not just Wildcraft, now proudly label their beers as "vegan-friendly," indicating that no animal-derived ingredients or processes were used.
Additionally, various online resources and apps help consumers identify vegan beers. There are also some great groups on Facebook!