Guinness is now officially vegan after changing its filtration process and is suitable for vegans in draft, bottle and can form.
Guinness is a dry Irish stout that was originally produced in Dublin, Ireland and has been brewed for over 260 years.
Now manufactured in five countries around the world, Guinness is one of the world’s most popular drinks with 10 million pints consumed daily and 1.5 billion pints enjoyed annually.
However, until 2016 Guinness wasn’t suitable for vegans due to its manufacturing process.
In this article, we explain the changes Diageo, the company that manufactures Guinness, made to make all of its Guinness products vegan.
Does Guinness still use isinglass?
Until 2016, isinglass was used in Guinness’ manufacturing process which meant the product was not suitable for vegans.
Isinglass is a collagen product made from fish bladders that helps to remove extra yeast from the stout during the fining process. It is traditionally used as a clarifying agent in the manufacturing of alcoholic beverages like beer and wine to make them clear and is the reason that not all alcohol is vegan.
In 2015, Diageo announced it would be implementing a new filtration system to eliminate isinglass from the manufacturing process to make Guinness suitable for vegans.
Speaking at the time, Stephen Kilcullen, master brewer and head of quality for Guinness, said that the stout would have been vegan a decade ago but the technology did not exist to filter out the yeast without isinglass.
“Everything we tried lost that ruby red colour you see in the bottom of the glass which shows it’s clear. We wouldn’t compromise on quality so we had to wait for the technology,” he said.
Thankfully, in April 2016, Diageo confirmed that all kegs of Guinness on the market are vegan-friendly as they had been made using a new process which does not use isinglass.
In 2016, isinglass was removed from Guinness' manufacturing process to make the drink suitable for vegans. Photo © bizoo_n via Adobe Stock
Is all Guinness vegan?
When Guinness’ manufacturer Diageo first launched its new manufacturing process in 2016, it could only confirm that its kegs were vegan-friendly.
This is because the manufacturer couldn’t guarantee that old stock of the drink available in bottle and can form had been filtered using the new process. So, whilst the kegs of Guinness were suitable for vegans, bottles and cans were still not vegan-friendly.
Finally, in 2018, Diageo confirmed that all Guinness products worldwide, including Guinness Draught, Guinness Extra Stout and Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, are now isinglass-free and suitable for vegans.
Additionally, Guinness’ alcohol free beer, Guinness 0.0, is also vegan.
According to Guinness’ website: “Our new state-of-the-art filtration process has removed the use of isinglass as a means of filtration and therefore made the ingredients in Guinness Draught, Guinness Extra Stout and Guinness Foreign Extra Stout suitable for vegans.”
If you’re worried that the new filtration process might have affected the taste of your favourite tipple well worry not because a spokesperson for Diego stated that you’ll still be able to enjoy the same great taste.
“The recipe for Guinness has not changed and the taste has not changed. It is still the same great pint of Guinness it has always been,” the spokesman said.
Photo © Faina Gurevich via Adobe Stock
The popular stout drink is famous for its deep ruby red colour and signature foamy white top.
However, Guinness is made from four main ingredients – roasted and malted barley, hops, water, and yeast.
Its creamy white head is formed when the beer is poured as this causes bubbles of nitrogen and carbon dioxide gas to surge, resulting in the frothy topping.
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