International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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What about wines and beers?

What about wines and beers?

Wine is clarified, or cleared, after fermentation. Some of the ingredients used include:

  • edible gelatines (made from bones)
  • isinglass (made from the swim bladders of fish)
  • casein and potassium caseinate (milk proteins)
  • animal albumin (egg albumin and dried blood powder)
In the UK beer (bitter) is also commonly fined using isinglass.
Many bottled bitters and most lagers are vegan.
Guinness is not suitable for vegans.
Finings are substances often added to beer (especially British beer or "bitter") or wine during fermentation to help clarify out particles and yeast, leaving the finished product clear.
Finings are not present in the finished product in any significant quantity, their purpose is to settle out of the product, not stay in suspension.
OTOH, if a chemical analysis were to be performed, there would probably be a few molecules of a fining agent still to be found. Some finings are animal derived, the most common are isinglass, made from the dried swim bladders of sturgeons, gelatin, egg or blood albumin (in wines) and caseinates (from milk, also used in wines).
However many non-animal derived sources also exist, the commonest ones being bentonite (clay), Irish Moss (a seaweed), silicon dioxide and polyclar.
Beer brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot (German purity law) is not prohibited from using finings since it was generally assumed that finings were not present in the finished product.

Animal products are also sometimes used to alter the flavour of the wine/beer or control the head on a beer.

Most spirits/mixers are suitable for vegans, common exceptions include some vodkas (may be cleared through bone charcoal) and Campari (contains cochineal, an insect derived colouring).

br> See also these Information Sheets from The Vegetarian Society UK:

Are carbonated drinks with low pH such as coke good for health?

I guess it really is more general rather than vegetarian question, but my answer would be to say that they are neutral.
Look up the pH of your stomach acid. It's lower than that of coke or table vinegar. So I can't see why these beverages would be bad for you because of their pH.
- Michael

The answer is "no", they are not good for health, but not because of the pH. If they contain phosphates, which many do, you should avoid them. Phosphates will leech the calcium from your body, contributing to osteroperosis.

answers are needed to the following:

Are spirits like brandy, used in chirstmas puddings, vegetarian?

Which soft-drinks contain sugars refined using Animal Products ?

from a reader in the UK
Any sugar refined from Cane sugar is very likely to have gone through a cow bone filter. Any sugar refined from Sugar Beet is vegetarian. I suggest you contact the drink companies to source their sugar suppliers.
note: this may vary in other countries...

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