This is a very broad discussion as this can vary greatly from vegan to vegan. In Nutracity’s online vegan nutrition store we do not stock any alcoholic products in our vegan products UK line. This is due firstly, because we do not have a licence to stock these products and secondly, even if we did have a license we would not stock alcoholic beverages as it is not in line with our ethos of optimising our health. We will look more into this later but firstly I would like to mention the common non-vegan ingredients and fining agents used in alcohol as mentioned in healthline.com1:
- Milk and cream. These dairy products are sometimes added to beer and liqueurs to give a creamy, rich flavour. They’re also used in many cocktails and blended drinks.
- Whey, casein, and lactose. These milk by-products are occasionally used as ingredients or fining agents
- Honey. Honey is fermented to make mead and is used as a sweetener in other alcoholic beverages
- Eggs. Egg white protein, also known as albumin, is often used as a fining agent in wine. Eggs are also added to some cocktails
- Isinglass. This popular fining agent is derived from fish bladders
- Gelatine. Gelatine is not only used to make jello, puddings, and gravies but also commonly serves as a fining agent. Notably, it’s derived from animal skin, bones, and cartilage
- Cochineal and carmine. Carmine, a red dye made out of scaly insects called cochineal, is added to some alcoholic beverages for colour
- Chitin. Chitin is a fibre used as a fining agent. Though vegan versions exist, it’s often a by-product of insects or shellfish
There have been many studies highlighting the bad effects of alcohol on medications as well as vitamins and supplements. Ethanol can affect absorption, the blood flow in the liver and how the liver uptakes substances as well as how the liver metabolises substances. In certain circumstances this can therefore lead to either too little of the substance being processed by the body or too much. The effects of alcohol can also allow the body to be more susceptible to toxins and therefore can also increase the risk or cancer.
At Nutracity we stock a large range of non-alcoholic beverages to cater for the vegan market. Let’s take a look at some of the products:
One of my personal favourites, Rocks Organic Blackcurrant Squash (740ml). The fruit used to make this squash are 100% organic and contain no artificial sweeteners, colours or flavours. The ingredients are Organic Cane Sugar, Rocks Spring Water*, Organic Fruit Juices from Concentrate (Blackcurrant 18.5%, Apple 14%, Lemon 0.4%), Citric Acid*, *Non-Organic. This squash is made using British blackcurrants, so it is nice to see that this squash is made using fruit grown in our own country. I would say that it is a great alternative to other blackcurrant squash drinks such as Robinsons or Ribena as it is made from organic ingredients and does not contain any artificial ingredients.
My next favourite beverage is Clipper Organic & Fair Trade Everyday Tea. This is made purely from organically grown black tea. Clipper products are made with pure natural ingredients. They use only the highest-quality sources, add nothing artificial. Clipper products are sourced and made with a clear conscience. They are the pioneers of unbleached and plastic-free tea bags and always strive to make things better for people and the planet. A lot of other tea brands use bleached tea bags and tea bags that also contain plastics. Bearing in mind that boiling water is used to infuse the tea bag, this leaves us with a high chance to ingest these inorganic compounds. That is why I personally only use clipper tea in my household.
Lastly but by no means least, we can not talk about a good beverage unless we mention that Nutracity stocks Aqua Carpatica water. This company is very ethical and they helped to raise awareness of the high nitrate content contained in our tap water as well as other bottled waters.
Nitrates are heavy antioxidants and they are undesirable substances, harmful for human health. The ingestion of a large quantity can cause gastric problems, hives and rashes and other reactions or illnesses. Nitrates are used as chemical fertilisers in intensive agriculture.
Other sources of nitrates include septic tank leakage, livestock manure, and erosion of natural deposits. Aqua Carpatica is sourced from the Carpathian Mountains, home to over 60% of Europe's mineral water resources. It is naturally very low in sodium (only 0.6 mg/l), virtually nitrate free (only 0.7 mg/l), naturally alkaline (Ph 7.8) and contains natural electrolytes. Aqua Carpatica is drawn from two pristine and pure aquifers, nestled deep in the heart of the untouched Carpathian Mountains. Through a natural 20 to 40-year filtration in a location with no agriculture or industrial activity in the surrounding areas, AQUA Carpatica's source is protected from chemicals, fertilisers, CFCs and other contaminants, meaning it is simply as natural mineral water should be; virtually nitrate free, with a crisp and refreshing taste that provides perfect purity and nourishment from the first drop to the last.
AQUA Carpatica combines an exceptionally balanced mineral content of calcium and magnesium, the ideal water of choice for health conscious people, particularly those with high blood pressure and those pursuing low-Sodium diets. The natural harmonious balance of these two minerals means your body is able to absorb them extremely efficiently, helping support your digestion with natural bicarbonates.
So to sum up, I think that some vegans would still probably drink alcohol, but the issue of drinking alcohol goes far beyond veganism in my opinion. As mentioned above, the detrimental effects that alcohol has on the body does not outweigh any short term positive feelings one may experience from alcoholic beverages. Therefore it is good that we have companies like Nutracity, that offer non-alcoholic alternatives and good beverages that are not only tasty, but also healthy for our bodies and come from reliable, organic sources. Watch this space for more products to be added soon!