All vegan. Maybe.

To many people, I imagine this post is going to sound like a moaning vegan going too far but this topic has been playing on my mind for a while.

Why do people refer to a vegan restaurant as 100% vegan when it stocks and sells non-vegan alcohol?

I am currently in Glasgow and am thrilled by the amount of vegan food and drink on offer around the city. It is truly one of the most progressive places for vegans on the planet. Pub meals, craft beers and stunning inner-city venues make for a fun vegan experience.

One thing is bugging me, though.

A handful of food outlets are listed online as vegan, but some of them sell non-vegan alcohol.

Now, call me a troublemaking purist but if a venue is advertised as vegan I do not expect it will sell non-vegan alcohol. If a venue is listed on Happycow as vegan, I have to admit to being surprised and annoyed to find they are selling non-vegan drinks.

Now here is the kicker.

Some of the drinks I have seen in these ‘vegan’ establishments would not even be deserving of the vegetarian label as gelatine has been used in the production process. That’s right. One of the ‘vegan’ bars in Glasgow is selling Kopparberg cider, a company that tells customers its production process utilises gelatine.

How do you feel about this? Should a venue referring to itself as vegan only sell vegan booze? My answer is an unwavering “Yes!” but I am also keen to hear other opinions.


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Written by fatgayvegan

24 Comments
  1. I agree with you. I think many folk don’t think about the contents of drink in the same way as food, largely due to inferior ingredient labelling on drinks (particularly alcohol)

  2. An absolute resounding yes! One of the best things about going to a vegan restaurant is looking forward to looking at the wine list and picking what I *want* to drink rather than the vegan option (same with the food I guess). It makes the restaurant seem less committed/informed and I’d start to worry about honey..

  3. If somewhere labels itself as vegan, you should be able to consume anything it sells. Otherwise it’s just the same as a ‘vegan’ food company selling meat.

  4. I 100% agree with you. It’s like a ‘vegan’ establishment selling honey.

    They’ve clearly not done their research and probably just think “as long as we’re not selling meat or dairy, we can call ourselves vegan! That’s all there is to it!”

    WRONG. Veganism extends beyond the plate, to everything we put in or on our bodies. Full stop. End of.

  5. I believe its down to the brewers that the establishment is tied to, therefore they have no choice. Not ideal in a perfect world.

    • I get that but if a place is not serving all vegan products, it is a not a vegan place. It is almost vegan or vegan friendly.

  6. I entirely agree with you it should be 100% vegan.

  7. Also completely agree. It is especially important for new vegans and vegan-curious folks…if they go into these places thinking everything is vegan, they don’t know and they may accidently be consuming non-vegan drinks. There are plenty of vegan options out there!!!

  8. 100% = 100%.

    One caveat I can see is that liquor producers aren’t required to divulge all their ingredients… let alone their “fining” processes, so it can be more difficult to determine whether a product is vegan, or even vegetarian. You’d really have to have an expert beverage manager or simply steer clear of anything that isn’t clearly labeled or from a producer who will verify its suitability for vegans. And if you’re calling yourself 100% vegan, you should do one or both.

  9. If a venue sells itself as 100% vegan and sells non vegan products, ie drinks, it should be reported under the trades descriptions act. They’ve got to f***ing learn. A 100% vegan venue should be 100% vegan.

  10. Yes. You’re right.

  11. I agree too. Someone pointed me in the direction of http://www.barnivore.com/ yesterday – a positive revelation (and a tad horrific to find out some of the melted cow crap I’ve been inadvertently quaffing).
    Assuming Barnivore is reliable, surely it’s a simple step for vegan and veggie eateries can take to ensure their advertised consistency??

  12. I completely agree. But I have been amazed to find this is an area where certain people calling themselves vegan are willing to consume without knowing – which they would not be prepared to do with food. I have eaten in many vegetarian restaurants over the years where I’ve been told I’m the first person who ever asked whether the alcohol was vegan (often accompanied by “well, there’s no milk in it!” raising questions about whether they even checked it was vegetarian) not so much these days admittedly but it does still happen. But in a vegan restaurant I would not even ask, I’d assume it was all vegan.

    And of course there is the curious case of the vegetarian pub in Brighton serving many non vegerarian drinks. They, depending on the management of the time, were sometimes clueless about whether any of their wines were vegerarian or vegan. When I first went there I assumed everything was vegetarian which I think anyone would unless they knew better.

  13. 100% includes ALL items being sold. Or you can’t say you’re a totally vegan establishment.

    I couldn’t understand a ‘vegetarian’ pub in central London I went in recently being very proud of itself but were selling several beers etc I knew weren’t veggie, such as Guinness (& I’m teetotal)! They meant they were a regular pub with an entirely vegetarian menu.

    Important difference, as it means you can’t relax if you’re veg*n & still have to check what you’re buying.

  14. yep.. if it says vegan establishment it should be.. i dont think anyone would disagree w that!

  15. I think it’s ridiculous, what’s the point of selling non-vegan stuff, it goes against the establishment being vegan? I don’t know where you are, but even though I love Stereo, they used to sell cow’s milk as well, which I also think is ridiculous and unethical!

  16. I’d hate to think I’d eaten a nice vegan meal and had a drink only to find out afterwards that the drink was not vegan. Surely this is a Trades Descriptions Act issue?

  17. I think its strange that Raw at La Suite West serve cows milk when everything else is vegan

  18. Definitely agree. It’s really not hard to find vegan beers and ciders, especially in bottles, just look on Barnivore.

  19. Another peeving thing is veggie restaurants with bone china plates and cups!

  20. Absolutely agree. The few we have close to us are veggie/vegan but the wines/beers etc are clearly labelled on the menu that all are veggie and which ones are also vegan. Simples. Why do people always overlook booze?

  21. I’m glad that you like the range of vegan eating places in Glasgow as it is my nearest big town and for once I am spoilt for choice deciding where to eat. I agree though , drinks should be vegan and if they are not then it should be clearly stated . I was assuming that the wine in stereo or the CCA which are the places I eat most often were vegan but perhaps not? I will definately be asking some questions next time I am there . Disappointing

  22. i also agree, was in stereo recently and ordered a bottle of wine, I had rang earlier and was told all the wines were vegan…so didn’t bother asking, and when I was perusing the label while drinking it there was no mention that it was, which always makes me assume it’s not… will make sure to double check with them next time. it has been an area that I’ve been less strict on, but do try to make sure and am making a big effort to not drink wine that I don’t know hasn’t been fined with milk, eggs or fish. the labelling laws are confusing though, they should have to list all the ingredients.

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