One might think that asking if cider is vegan is a silly question (after all it’s just apples right?!) but when it comes to alcohol and veganism, it’s somewhat of a minefield! It can be difficult to navigate what is and isn’t vegan. There certainly is a mass of misinformation and lack of knowledge when it comes to knowing what goes into our drinks, making vegans often surprised to learn that their favourite tipple contains hidden animal products. You might be surprised to learn that the vast majority of cider are in fact not vegan friendly!
How can cider not be vegan?
Vegan or not - you might be surprised just what your favourite drink has hiding in it!
Many popular commercial brands such as Kopparberg, Strongbow and Rekorderlig incorporate animal derivatives (such as gelatine) in their manufacturing process, either as an ingredient in the drink itself or used in the filtering process thus rendering the final product unsuitable for vegans.
Some ciders actually contain pork, egg, dairy and fish!. Animal finings such as casein, albumen, gelatin, Carmine and isinglass are used to help remove impurities, for clarity and even for taste. Sorry guys it’s time to put down the Kopparberg…
*Fining is the process by which alcohol is filtered or “refined” during brewing.
So what are these animal products?
Isinglass: A lot of alcohol is strained through isinglass, which is a form of collagen prepared from dried fish swim bladders (nice).
Gelatin: We’re all familiar with term - it’s often used in sweets but you might have missed the memo that gelatin is actually an animal pro protein derived from the skin and connective tissue of pigs and cows.
Carmine: Carmine is derived from the bodies of dried cochineal beetles, and is used to color drinks. Carmine is also called Cochineal, Cochineal Extract, Crimson Lake, Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470, E120, and Carminic Acid so be careful - it’s not always easy to spot this one!
Casein: Casein is a protein derived from milk.
Albumen: Egg white, or the protein contained in it.
So are any vegan ciders?
Whilst many commercial ciders use processes that mean they aren’t vegan, however many craft ciders tick the vegan box! By using more traditional methods, avoiding preservatives and other unnecessary nasties however that’s not to say all craft ciders are vegan - making the world of vegan cider a confusing one! But worry not… we’ve compiled a list of three vegan ciders that you shouldn't miss out on, so you can sit easy that you’re sticking well and truly to the vegan lifestyle!
Our top three vegan ciders:
Now we might be bias when it comes to this particular cider (it’s our brand after all) but rest assured this cider has the public's backing! Crafty Nectar No7 is the world's first crowdsourced cider. Born from the flavour profiles of 1000's of cider drinkers, Crafty Nectar No.7 is the perfect blend of complexity, character & body. Made from 100% fresh pressed apples. Dabinett, Michelin, Harry Masters and Yarlington Mill. This cider is medium, mellow and sparkling. And most importantly its a vegan cider!
COTSWOLD CIDER COMPANY BLOWHORN
Now this cider is a little different - but well worth a try! Using their own secret recipe of whole chai spices this medium cider a unique and refreshing revelation, awakening senses you didn't know you had. Perfect for spicy foods, as a winter warmer or Indian Summer cooler. Try with a wedge of lime and some mint. Uniquely satisfying. And of course vegan friendly.
Now you might not immediately think to replace your bubby with a cider alternative but some top brand bottles of bubbly and popular contain pork, egg, dairy and fish! Not only is Anioletti a great alternative to something bubbly in general ( because who can resist sharing a bottle of posh cider) but its also vegan friendly - meaning you can toast easy. Angioletti is a premium sparkling Italian craft cider made from selected apples exclusively grown in the picturesque Italian Dolomites.Angioletti is crafted and bottled at the family-owned Lucia Maria Melchiori ‘sidreria’, and is only ever made from 100% juice and contains no artificial sweeteners, flavourings or colourings. It’s delicate and refreshing ‘frizzante’ style makes this craft cider the perfect accompaniment to both fine foods and celebrations. Serve in a flute glass - and enjoy!