For the most part, I'm a pretty healthy individual. I exercise, eat healthy foods, and get as much rest as a mother of three with a business, a blog, and a tendency to over-volunteer can. I'm a "flexitarian," which, for me, it means I mostly eat vegan, but I have a slip-up on occasion.
My major downfall? Beverages. I partake in morning coffee, and I enjoy an alcoholic beverage on a fairly regular basis. The only time I could truly abstain from either was during pregnancy and nursing. You know, we all have our vices. I always assumed alcohol was vegan (unless you're having a cream-based cocktail...duh), but a vegan friend recently set me straight and introduced me to Barnivore.
The Barnivore web site states:
It might seem weird at first, but your favorite drink might have more than just alcohol in it. Brewmasters, winemakers, and distillers may include animal ingredients in their products directly, or they might use them in the processing and filtration. When making the product, dairy, honey, and other things (including, in one case, a whole chicken dropped in the tank) are ingredients in the final recipe. When filtering the drinks prior to bottling, companies can use things like isinglass (from fish bladder), gelatin, egg whites, and sea shells, among other things. These products grab onto the impurities and make it easier to catch them in the filters, though there are many animal-free alternatives in use.
Barnivore is a ginormous database of the vegan status (or not) of beer, wine, and liquor. It has over 14,000 entries. You can look up your favorite beverage by name, type, or company. The classification is simple:
Not Vegan Friendly
If you want to know more, you can simply click on the name of the beverage, which leads you to a detailed profile. The profiles vary in content depending on how much Barnivore knows about the individual product, but, for the most part, includes the name and contact information for the producer, and who (usually Barnivore community members) has checked and double-checked the product. There will also be a description–often a company statement–about whether the product is vegan friendly. If the beverage is not vegan friendly, an explanation is provided.
Barnivore community members are constantly adding information to the site, making it better and better.
Though they take their information seriously, Barnivore is lightheartedly run by Jason Doucette and AngelA, two vegans from Toronto who "have jobs and try to do what we can to promote a healthy, ethical, and sustainable diet to the rest of the world."
We don't often think about a cocktail, glass of wine, or a mug of beer being a violation of our vegan lifestyle, so checking out the site can be a little bit startling for those who do partake from time-to-time. Barnivore is user friendly, filled with valuable information, and fun to read. Highly recommended for any vegan boozer, such as myself.