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There’s fish bladder in your Guinness—but not for long

AP Photo, Pool
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Guinness will soon offer a vegan-friendly version of its classic stout. The brewery is moving to replace a step in the clarification process done at its flagship St. James’s Gate Brewery that uses isinglass, a gelatin obtained from dried fish bladder, with an alternative method completely free of animal products.

English newspaper The Times (paywall) first reported the story, citing a spokesperson from the brewery who said Guinness is in the process of building a new filtration plant that will not use isinglass. The change is scheduled to be completed in late 2016, according to CNBC, with vegan-friendly beers hitting shelves shortly thereafter.

Guinness has been using isinglass at its Dublin brewery since the mid- to late-19th century, the Smithsonian Magazine reports. Barnivore, a website that catalogues vegan beers, wines, and liquors, shared snippets from its ongoing email correspondence with executives from the Irish brewery—in one company message from August 2014, a representative said, “Almost all of the Isinglass is removed from the product, but we can’t guarantee that 100% is removed.”

The change comes as breweries (and food and drink companies at large) are coming under pressure to offer more vegetarian- or vegan-friendly options, to accommodate consumers’ changing preferences. An online petition to “Make Guinness vegetarian / vegan friendly” reached 1,500 supporters two months ago

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