As you may or may not be aware, I drink a fair bit of beer. I catalogue many of my beers each Wednesday here on my Beer Wednesday posts, but I only blog about those beers that I have pictures for and that I can be reasonably sure are vegan, thanks to Barnivore.com and the Vgan app on my phone.
Recently, while visiting my mother, I was drinking a decent little German hefe weizen called Franziskaner. If you are a fan of weissbeirs, you probably already have had this beer, and if not, now you have!
While checking whether or not this was a vegan beer, (I was 99.9% sure it was, since I’m familiar with the German beer purity laws) I found the explanation on the Vgan app where the brewer explained that they use no animal products either im the brewing process or in the clarifying process, thereby making the beer vegan.
Thats when I first discovered it!
The good folks over at Franziskaner did admit to using a caesin-based glue!
Yeah! Seriously! Not only are we using caesin in far too many things that we call “food,” but apparently it is a super common ingredient in label glue!
Caesin, along with being really stretchy and good on pizza, (don’t judge me) makes a glue that will stick to cold, hot, or wet glass and plastic.
Now, I get that companies want their labels to stick, seriously, I do. I mean, I want to know which beer I’m drinking too so that I don’t accidentally start to swig some terrible macro-brew instead of an awesome craft beer, but really? I mean, really?
A while ago I visited the Dogfish Head brewery and had a similar disappointing experience when they made quite clear that they give their spent grain to local farms to feed to cows. . . the same cows that Dogfish then buys as beef for their restaurant.
I love Dogfish Head’s beers. Maybe a bit too much, but I had to wonder, if they’re contributing to animals being turned into food, can I really call them vegan or vegan-friendly? The same question now makes me wonder about labeling. If caesin-based glus are the norm, can I assume that every beer that has a paper label is no longer vegan-friendly? Is that a line I need to draw?
(Side note, Stone Brewing Company makes great beer and uses painted-on labels)
I think that there isn’t enough of a market for caesin-based glues that if the other uses for dairy went away that there would still be enough caesin in production to make it worthwhile as a glue. So I probably won’t stop drinking beers and wines with paper labels, but maybe when given the option, I’ll lean towards painted labels instead of paper ones.
What about you? Did you know about the common use of caesin as a glue? Does that change how you define “vegan-friendly” at all?