Guinness Beer has changed its centuries-old recipe in order to become vegan, starting from 2016.
Ever since it was initially brewed 256 years ago, the world-famous beer included isinglass among its ingredients, just like many other cask ales normally do.
This component is a type of gelatin obtained from the swim bladders of fish, and is commonly used to accelerate the clarification of beer. It allows yeast to settle much faster into a mass at the bottom of the barrel, aiding the process of sedimentation.
Although eventually isinglass is removed from beer, some tiny fragments of fish actually remain in the product that is considered to be the best-selling stout (dark beer) worldwide.
Therefore, vegan customers have been calling for a change in the alcoholic drink’s recipe, so as not to include by-products of the fishing industry or any other animal ingredients anymore.
For example, an initiative posted on change.org by Tom Jones from Manchester has raised 1,729 signatures, and proposed using an alternative to isinglass, so that more than a billion vegetarians across the world can also enjoy this beer’s unmistakable flavor.
While it may seem absurd or rash to modify ingredients which have been the secret to the dry stout’s taste for more than two centuries, there are indeed techniques which would ensure the same drinking experience, while making isinglass obsolete.
In fact, this component has been used increasingly less frequently in recent years, as new centrifugal and filtration processes have sprung up. For example, other commercially successful beers such as Heineken and Miller are considered to be free of any animal ingredients, and therefore vegan-friendly.
So far, Diageo, which is the manufacturer of Guiness and also of other hugely popular brands such as Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Baileys, hasn’t explained exactly what technique it will employ in order to make this transition.
Representatives of the British multinational corporation have simply said that they were striving to identify a method which is both environmentally friendly and potent, and which can leave the famous Guinness taste and quality unaltered.
For now, it has been announced that a new type of filtration process will be introduced sometime in 2016 at St. James’s Gate Brewery, the Irish property where Arthur Guinness first began brewing ales back in 1759.
“While isinglass is a very effective means of clarification, and has been used for many years, we expect to stop using it as the new filtration asset is introduced”, explained a company spokesperson.
The change will be tremendous, given the fact that approximately 10 million glasses of Guinness are drunk every single day across the globe, and 1.8 billion pints are sold on a yearly basis.
Despite the fact that any small change in taste might discourage customers from buying this iconic beverage, if the flavor is indeed maintained as before, this could lead to a major boost in customers, since vegetarians and vegans will finally get to enjoy this beer as well.
This could be exactly what Guinness needs in order to achieve a sales recovery, after facing a downward trend following competition from microbreweries.
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