Guinness Won’t Use Fish Guts In The Brewing Process – Your Black Beer Is Now Truly Vegan-Friendly

Guinness had long been using fish guts to make its “Good For You” Beer. Thankfully, the brewery has come up with alternate techniques that eliminate the need to use fish guts.

After sticking to the same recipe for over two and a half centuries, Guinness has announced it is diverging from its time-tested method of making beer. Strictly to appease vegetarians and ensure they, too, could enjoy the world-famous brew, Guinness will stop using fish guts to filter its beer.

Technically, Guinness had been using Isinglass, a gelatinous substance obtained from fish bladders. The rather strange material has been used for more than 256 years by the company to separate extra yeast particles from the beer. However, a petition on Change.org that was overwhelmingly supported on the internet, Ireland’s most famous drink will no longer be made by using Isinglass, even if it was meant merely to expedite the sedimentation process.

Though Isinglass was used primarily in the refining process, it was not entirely removed from the beer after it has served its purpose. The gelatinous substance derived from the swim bladders of fish could remain in trace amounts. In other words, your cold glass of Guinness was quite likely to contain microscopic amounts of fish guts. Hence, it has been avoided by vegans and vegetarians, leaving a large market untapped that Guinness now wants to cater to.

A majority of the beer makers have shifted to fish-free alternatives. However, Guinness seemed to follow the original recipe. Incidentally, the chemical derived from fish guts doesn’t alter or impart any special taste, a fact confirmed by Guinness. But, the company had previously defended the use of fish guts by reasoning it accorded a “very effective means of clarification.” Moreover, till recently, it was determined to keep using Isinglass because it had yet to find a replacement “as effective and as environmentally friendly,” reported Sport Act.

The company expects some diehard fans of the dark brew to complain that their glass of the black stuff isn’t the same anymore without that soupçon of fish guts to compliment the beer’s already-quite-rugged flavor, reported Death and Taxes Magazine. However, with almost 400 million vegetarians or vegans, shifting to alternative material to clarify the beer certainly makes sense. Moreover, as per the company’s own admission, micro-breweries had strongly affected its sales in 2015. If that’s not all, majority of Guinness’ competitors like Anheuser-Busch, Heineken, and Miller have already been determined to be vegan-friendly.

Vegan Guinness beers are expected to arrive in 2016, confirmed the company. Though Guinness didn’t divulge any details about the alternative to fish guts, its parent company, British alcoholic beverage giant Diageo, released a statement that reads as follows.

“The company will introduce a new filtration system at its St James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin next year that will not require the use of isinglass. Our brewers and engineering teams at St James’s Gate are continually working to drive improvement as well as assuring the quality and craft of the brewing techniques developed here over the last 256 years.

“Isinglass has been used widely within the brewing industry as a means of filtration for decades. However, because of its use we could not label Guinness as suitable for vegetarians and have been looking for an alternative solution for some time. We are now pleased to have identified a new process through investment in a state-of-the-art filtration system at St James’s Gate which, once in place, will remove the use of isinglass in the brewing process.”

While fish guts may sound gross, the ingredient has been widely used in the beer and wine industry. Its addition to the process makes the drink more palatable, reported Global Post. It is important to note that though Guinness has replaced fish guts in its Ireland brewery, it’s not clear whether it will do the same for beer produced outside the country.

[Photo by Julian Herbert / Getty Images]