Guinness is Going Vegan

Nov 03, 2015

Welcome to the fold, Vegan beer lovers.

After years of pressure by vegans and vegetarians, makers of the thick, dark and creamy Irish beer Guinness will stop using a fish organ byproduct in the brewing process.

For decades, Guinness has been made using isinglass, a collagen harvested from fish swim bladders (the internal organs that help them stay buoyant) used to filter impurities out of the brew. Since a small amount of isinglass can make it into the final product, Guinness isn’t, at the moment, a vegetarian-friendly drink. The 256-year-old beverage company will implement a new filtration system that takes isinglass out of the process, a spokesperson for Diageo, the multinational booze conglomerate that owns Guinness, confirmed to TIME Tuesday. The system should be in place by sometime in 2016.

“Our brewers and engineering teams at St. James’s Gate are continually working to drive improvement as well as assuring the quality and craft of the brewing techniques developed here over the last 256 years,” a Diageo spokesperson said. “Isinglass has been used widely within the brewing industry as a means of filtration for decades. 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 St. James’s Gate which, once in place, will remove the use of isinglass in the brewing process.”

The move has some Guinness-lovers worried that their cherished beverage will no longer be the same, though, importantly, this isn’t really a change in recipe, since isinglass is less an ingredient than a tool used in manufacturing.

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