The V Word: Attention, vegaholics

The booze website all vegan and vegetarian sippers should know about.

click to enlarge PHEW!: Yep, bourbons (a bunch of brands, in fact) are vegan. - ctj71081 via Flickr
ctj71081 via Flickr
PHEW!: Yep, bourbons (a bunch of brands, in fact) are vegan.

If you’re not hip to yet, you should be, especially you vegan or vegetarian folk. The 2003-born website is a vegan alcohol directory with more than 22,000 adult beverage entries, ranging from pinot noirs to amber ales to Tanqueray.

Run by the team of Jason Doucette and AngelA, Barnivore is a useful resource for those who abstain from consuming animal products (and for other curious drinkers,too) What ingredients, honey, dairy or otherwise, were used in that bottle you’re drinking? What about during the filtration process?

Suprisingly, or unsurprisingly, depending on your outlook, items like isinglass (a substance from fish bladder), egg whites and gelatin can end up in booze.

“These ingredients don’t usually show up on the label, so the only way to find out is to ask,” the site says.

Data collection is a collaborative effort of Barnivore and its visitors, who reach out to companies asking if their products are vegan-friendly. According to the site, every listing is often double- and triple-checked, and a guide on how to help (in seven languages) and submit your findings is also provided.

The layout of the Barnivore guide keeps it simple. Visitors begin their hunt for vegan-approved beer, wine or liquor via the site’s main navigation bar, or a large search bar in the middle of the homepage. The results are always displayed with a simple vegan/not vegan designation, and they may be filtered further by letter.

Clicking on an entry leads visitors to a more detailed description of a company, or one of its liquors. This overview is where an alcohol brand’s email response may be found, plus additional notes that assist consumers in determining the validity of a company’s vegan-friendly badge.

Crown Royal, Grey Goose, Hendrick's and Bacardi are among the vegan-ready brands.

In the case of entries like Absolut Vodka, issues not directly related to food and drink may be catalogued. Part of the Absolut listing reads, “Barnivore note (February 2014): Absolut is owned by Pernod Ricard, a major funder of bullfighting.”

Another brand that leaves it up to visitors to determine its true veganosity is Captain Morgan, which says its spirits are vegan in a few emails, but a final correspondence on the page could sway you into thinking otherwise.

“We do not knowingly add any animal related ingredients to Captain Morgan products,” the entry reads, “though we cannot confirm if any of those were involved in the making process because we do not know what is in our raw ingredients.”

So while your favorites might be cleared as vegan without stipulations, it can’t hurt to do another check, as some of the listings were added and double-verified more than four years ago. Peer review is the nature of the site, after all.

Outside of Barnivore, there’s a collection of apps for the Androids and iPhones of vegan drinkers on the move as well — VegeTipple, Vegaholic, Green Vegan and Vgan included.

And the best part? These vegan booze resources won’t cut into your drinking time. Promise.