×

Your next pint of Guinness could be vegan-friendly

One famous brewer is about to make a lot of people very happy.

Ireland's famous stout, Guinness, hopes to stop using isinglass, a gelatin obtained from fish, in its filtration process for the first time. This will provide a pint that's suitable for vegetarian and vegan consumers.

Guinness is in the process of installing a new filtration system at St James's Gate brewery in Ireland that once in place will remove the use of isinglass from the brewing process.

The plan is to have the system running by late 2016, with the new brew on the shelves for consumers to buy soon after.

Mark Cuthbert | UK Press | Getty Images

According to The Times newspaper, the new brew will be vegan-friendly, allowing a broader range of consumers to enjoy the drink.

Isinglass comes from fish bladders, and is used during the clarification process of some beers and alcohol, to make the yeast sediment settle more quickly.

While most of the agent is removed during the process, Guinness has said in the past that traces of isinglass may be found in the drinking product; hence making it unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans.


Online vegan alcohol guide, Barnivore, has detailed its email correspondence with Guinness in the past, with Guinness claiming to have said that almost all of the "Isinglass is removed from the product, but we can't guarantee that 100 percent is removed."

In many countries, alcohol companies are not required to include isinglass on the label, as no side effects have been logged and it isn't used for texture or flavor purposes.

In January this year, Barnivore published an email from Guinness saying it was "seeking alternatives" to the fining agent. But, it added that no alternative had been found that had proved as effective or as environmentally friendly.

Guinness is looking into two filtration practices that would not need to use isinglass, according to The Times.

This news comes on the back of several online petitions, which have asked Guinness in the past to make their drinks vegan-friendly, by using alternative agents.

Guinness sells its products in more than 150 countries globally, with 10 million glasses of Guinness consumed every day, according to the brewer.

The story was first reported by The Times.

Clarification: This story has been updated to highlight that by removing isinglass, this will be a change to Guinness' filtration process.

By CNBC's Alexandra Gibbs, follow her on Twitter @AlexGibbsy.