Guinness goes vegan

Guinness is to become vegan-friendly for the first time in its 256-year history as it ends the use of isinglass – dried fish swim bladders – for the clarification of its beer.

Guinness is preparing to introduce a new, state-of-the-art filtration system at its St James's Gate brewery

Guinness is preparing to introduce a new, state-of-the-art filtration system at its St James’s Gate brewery

The company plans to phase out the use of isinglass, which is used to make unwanted particles, such as yeast residue, settle more effectively following fermentation, as it introduces a new state-of-the-art filtration system some time next year, a company spokesperson said.

Isinglass has been used widely within the brewing industry as a means of filtration for decades,” the spokesperson added. “However, because of its use we could not label Guinness as suitable for vegetarians and have been looking for an alternative solution for some time.

“We are now pleased to have identified a new process through investment in a state-of-the-art filtration system at [Dublin brewery site] St James’s Gate which, once in place, will remove the use of isinglass in the brewing process.”

A by-product of the fishing industry, isinglass has been used for the clarification of beer and wine for over a century. The collagen substance is made from the dried swim bladders of certain fish, traditionally sturgeon.

While most of the isinglass used in the beer brewing process is removed by filtration, trace amounts remain in the beer.

The move, which represents an significant change to the brewing process for Guinness, comes on the back of calls from vegan beer drinkers who have campaigned for the company’s stout to become vegan-friendly.

The drinks business recently reported how the Guinness brand owner Diageo had launched a non-alcoholic Guinness in Asia following a government crackdown on alcohol consumption in Indonesia.

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