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A Guide To Vegan Alcoholic Drinks

Vegan Alcoholic Drinks

The vegan alcoholic drinks market is growing at pace. Where previously many wines, beers and liqueurs were off-limits, or it was difficult to identify vegan alcohol - a wave of vegan alcohol drinks is making it easier than ever to offer plant-based customers a clearer choice.     

As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, veganism has increased in popularity. Whether it's to protect the planet, the animals or your health (or even all three), in recent years, deciding to go vegan has been made easier by the array of new vegan food brands and substitutes. But something that's less widely discussed is vegan alcohol. 

Can vegans drink alcohol?

Here's a question for you: can vegans drink alcohol? Yes, they absolutely can. To be clear, alcohol itself is 100% vegan-friendly. It's what gets added to it that can cause issues for those on a plant-based diet. And, unfortunately, these additional animal-derived ingredients always escape the labels, making it difficult to know what you're actually consuming. So, the question is less 'can vegans drink alcohol' and more 'what alcohol can vegans drink'?

Why is some alcohol not vegan?


When it comes to being vegan-friendly, alcohol and sweets have something in common. Take a bag of gummy bears, for example. The gelatine used in their production means they're a no-go for the vegan community. And the same goes for some beers, ciders and wines. That's because gelatine (derived from the collagen in animal parts), isinglass (a gelatine-like substance made from the swim-bladders of fish) and egg whites are all known to be used in the filtration process.

Unfortunately for vegans, alcohol isn't subject to the same labelling requirements as food products. As there isn’t a legal requirement to list ingredients on alcohol products - making it harder to know what's safe to drink. Fortunately, however, there's an abundance of vegan-friendly beers, wines, ciders and spirits out there to choose from.

The rise of vegan alcoholic drinks


If you hadn't already noticed, veganism is booming in Britain. More than 629,000 Brits took part in Veganuary's annual meat-free January campaign in 2022. And, according to the Vegan Society's most recent figures, a similar number of people identify as full-time vegans, which equates to 1% of the general population.

With the growing accessibility of vegan products in mainstream settings, the number of people subscribing to a plant-based lifestyle is set to grow for some time yet. With the rise of veganism comes an additional interest in and demand for vegan alcoholic drinks. Research by PROOF, found that 65% prefer brands that have a positive

impact on society & 51% actually buy drinks brands that are environmentally sustainable. With these stats in mind, bars and restaurants would certainly be well-advised to stock up and brush up on their vegan offering to ensure they can cater for all tastes. 

Is wine vegan?


Is wine vegan? Is all wine vegan? And if not, why aren't wines vegan? These are all important questions, and the short answers to all three are: sometimes, no, and it's complicated. 

Sure, wine is made by fermenting grapes, but in the modern winemaking industry, various animal-derived products come into play to speed up the clarifying process (known as 'fining') to bring wines to our tables faster. 

So, as well as the animal products we mentioned earlier (egg whites, gelatine and isinglass), other animal derivatives like milk protein, casein, and chitosan (which comes from crustaceans shells) are also employed.

The good news for vegans is that many winemakers are now developing great tasting vegan wines that eschew these fining methods by allowing sediments to sink to the bottom of the barrel naturally (as is the traditional approach) or by adding an alternative fining agent, such as Bentonite – a purified clay. 

If you're keen to cater for the tastes of your vegan clientele, Matthew Clark has some wonderful vegan wines to add to your wine list, including these two beauties.

Zuccardi Serie A Torrontes

It's vegan wine time, and we'd like to take this opportunity to introduce this flowery citric, Argentinian Torronté white from producer Zuccardi. We love their Chardonnay too – both with vegan and ethical seals of approval.

Joseph Mellot Destinéa Pinot Noir

Vegan wine arguably doesn’t come much better than this Joseph Mellot Destinéa Pinot Noir. Sourced with grapes from different soil types for a diversity of flavour, this delectable red features notes of black fruits & a round, supple palate. Making it ideal for drinking with grilled dishes.

Wee Angus Merlot 

Another one of our most popular vegan wines is this Australian Merlot from producer Angus the Bull. The enticing name and label extends to the youthful exuberance of its taste. A superb option to recommend to your vegan customers who like an interesting fruit-led red.

Is there such a thing as vegan Prosecco?


Yes, there is. Vegans rejoice, Prosecco o'clock is now well and truly on! For years, makers of Prosecco have followed similar production processes as wine producers. Namely, using all the usual animal-derived fining agents to clarify their Prosecco. This means vegans can enjoy a glass of the nation's favourite fizz without the ethical hangover. 

Now, can we tempt you to a refreshing vegan Prosecco that's entirely exclusive to us?    

Alberto Nani Organic & Vegan Certified Prosecco

Alberto Nani Prosecco DOC is a certified organic vegan Prosecco that's lovingly crafted from Glera grapes unadulterated by pesticides, insecticides, herbicides or animal products. So if provenance is a big deal to you and your customers, this vegan Prosecco has pedigree. 

Bottega Gold

Made with Glera grapes in the remote Valdobbiadene region of Italy this vegan prosecco is gold by name & nature with its fruity scents of golden apple, acacia flowers and lily of the valley. Plus, all bottles are sleek, hand painted for that extra hint of luxury.

Is beer vegan?


The good news for plant-based ale enthusiasts is that the vast majority of beers are vegan-friendly. So, why is beer not vegan in some cases? Sometimes there's more than meets the eye than simply malt, water, hops and yeast. Some beers are clarified using the same fining agents as the winemaking industry. 

To complicate matters further, brewers are neither legally obliged nor especially inclined to reveal their closely-guarded brewing secrets. This means that many non-vegan beers aren't labelled as such, and neither are vegan-friendly brews, for that matter. So you may never know either way unless you do your research.

Thankfully, overcoming this issue of clarity is now becoming easier as brewers begin to make their vegan credentials known. Several of which feature amongst our extensive range of beers.

Innis & Gunn - The Original

Innis & Gunn have raised the bar for vegan beers ever since they released The Original. Known for its single malt whiskey cask which is matured for smoothness. Their flagship beer contains hints of toffee character coupled with a light hop fruitiness - making it a more than ideal choice for vegan beer drinkers.


A drink that needs no introduction. Guinness was previously not accessible to vegans due to the utilisation of insinglass in the production process. Fast forward to 2018, Guinness is now accessible to non vegans and vegans alike, the Irish stout no longer uses animal products in its production.

Camden Hells Lage

There's no doubting the popularity of Camden Hells. The new kid on the block isn't so new anymore, and is a staple choice of many establishments due to its premium taste but affordable price. Overall, it's a great vegan beer choice, and it's also available as a pale ale.

What other vegan alcohol options are available?


If you're looking to expand your vegan offering further, there are plenty of other vegan alcohol options available. You can cover all bases with our stock of vegan ciders and spirits, including these firm favourites.   

Orchard Pig Reveller

Despite appearances, no pigs were harmed in the making of this drink. In fact, no animal-derived ingredients are used at all in this delicious medium sparkling cider. Thankfully, the rest of the Orchard Pig range is also vegan-friendly, including their dry Truffler.

Beefeater 24

That’s right, Beefeater gins are completely vegan friendly and the 24 gin is arguably the best of the bunch. This award winning gin is made from 12 botanicals and exotic teas to give a unique flavour profile. Whether it’s cocktails or tonic, Beefeater 24 is never out of place.

Kopparberg Strawberry & Lime Gin

While almost all spirits are technically vegan liquor, we couldn't resist throwing one in for good measure. We'd like to present Kopparberg's head-turning transition from cider to gin! Increasing their ABV% by almost ten times, the Swedish brewery tried its hand as a distillery – and just like their cider, it can be enjoyed by vegans.

Is some alcohol completely non-vegan?


For vegans that like their liquor, ordering their favourite tipple has become a little easier. But are there any drinks that are permanently off-limits? If you're in the industry, this question may well crop up more than once. Aside from honey-flavoured or dairy-filled liqueurs, most distilled spirits are completely void of animal-derived products. 

It is worth noting that some sugar varieties present in cocktails aren't always vegan so double check with the venue as you’re flicking through the menu. 

Although, even those lines are blurring to a degree with the emergence of dairy-free liqueurs like Baileys Almande.  


Is all alcohol vegan? In essence, yes, but in reality, no. However, the alcohol industry is responding to the shifting sands of public awareness, societal norms and customer demands. Dedicated vegan alcohol drinks – like vegan Proseccos, wines, beers, ciders and spirits – provide the hospitality sector with gilt-edged opportunities to engage with plant-based customers like never before. 

Just as vegan food has become increasingly more normalised and mainstream, vegan alcohol is rapidly following suit. A good grasp of production processes can certainly hone your buying, training and selling practices. But the growth in self-assured, well-labelled, keenly priced vegan alcohol options makes your selection process that much easier. Not least with the Matthew Clark team on hand to offer advice whenever you need it.

For more information about our vegan products or bespoke training courses, please contact us at 01275 891 400 or email    


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