My gutless, my Guinness, as Irish stout goes vegan

Diageo has confirmed that draught Guinness is now free of isinglass, a fish-derived gelatin commonly used in filtration

My gutless, my Guinness, as Irish stout goes vegan

[ Artur Widak/SIPA USA/PA Images]

Health-conscious drinkers and animal rights advocates who’ve been hankering for a pint of the black stuff can settle their consciences with the news that Guinness is going vegan.

The iconic Irish stout had been using isinglass, informally known as fish bladders, to filter its beer. Isinglass, a kind of gelatine extracted from fish, especially sturgeon, is widely used by breweries all over the world to clarify alcohols as they ferment in casks.

As an animal product is used in the process, some vegetarians and all vegans did not previously permit themselves to drink Guinness beers, nor indeed those produced by rival breweries using isinglass. But now Diageo, the parent company in charge of the Guinness brand, has confirmed that all draught Guinness will be free of animal products.

“The first stage of the rollout of the new filtration system concentrated on Guinness Draught in kegs,” a Diageo statement reads.

“The brewery is delighted to confirm that this phase of the project is complete and all Guinness Draught produced in keg format at St James’s Gate Brewery and served in pubs, bars and restaurants around the world, is brewed without using isinglass to filter the beer.”

Diageo first mooted vegan Guinness in 2015, telling The New York Times that it wanted the stout to no longer contain trace amounts of fish bladder. While that is true of its draught beer and Guinness Blonde American Lager, the other beers in the brand’s range, including Hop House 13 and bottles and cans, are not yet vegan-friendly.

“Full distribution of bottle and can formats will be in place by the end of 2017, so until then, our advice to vegans is to consume the product from the keg format only for now,” the Guinness website advises.

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