Soon to be made without any fish guts, Guinness is going vegan

Vegan stout.
Vegan stout.
Image: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton
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It’s tough out there for vegan beer drinkers. Brewers often use fish bladders, more formally known as isinglass, for the filtering of cask beers. The substance, which is gelatinous, is used to filter yeast and other unwanted solids from the beer.

Because of the use of an animal product, hardline vegetarians and vegans don’t permit themselves to drink the Guinness beer, or any other brewing companies that use it. But at least Guinness, the Irish beer brand known worldwide for its stout, cares.

It has announced that it has eliminated fish guts from its filtration process for kegs and the vast amount of its stout going to pubs around the world will now be vegan-friendly (paywall), the drinks giant Diageo confirmed. For now, it’s only for stout on tap at bars but cans and bottles should be in place by the end of the year.

The company has been working to go vegan-friendly for years. In 2015, it told The New York Times (paywall) that it hoped its beer would no longer contain trace amounts of fish bladder by the end of 2016. Still, many of its products still use the method. Here’s a complete list as it stood before the announcement, as compiled by Barnivore, a website that tracks and updates the vegan-friendliness of beer, wine, and liquor products:

According to the company website, Guinness is continuing to work to eliminate the use of isinglass throughout the production process. “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 website states.