While there's an assumption that beer, wine and liquor are dairy-free, that is not always the case. The processing for some of these alcoholic drinks are processed uses milk ingredients. Specifically, casein is sometimes used during the fining process in wine-making, while beer sometimes uses lactose to add richness and body, especially dark beers such as Milk Stouts, Sweet Stouts, and Cream Stouts.
Vegan Alcoholic Drink Listings
How do you know which ones are safe? Well, www.barnivore.com is an excellent resource to find vegan wines, beers, and liquors, which will also be free of all dairy products, animal products and animal byproducts. You can also look for wines and alcohols that are labeled as kosher, as these usually will not use milk products but if you're vegan, be careful and make sure that eggs are not also in the ingredients. VegNews has also compiled several helpful lists for the dairy-free or vegan beer and wine connoisseur.
Specialty Alcohol Stores with Vegan Alcoholic Drinks
Your search for vegan alcoholic drinks can start at your local grocer or specialty alcohol stores. Typically, specialty stores will have a special section for vegans or those with dietary restrictions.
There you should ask about the manufacturing process of certain wines and if any animal by-products or dairy-derived products were used including gelatin, isinglass, chitin, albumin or egg whites.
Checking with Alcohol Brands for Vegan Alcoholic Drink Content
Another way to ensure you're drinking vegan and dairy-free alcoholic products is to check your favorite brands.
There's a list on vegan.com that lists brands that are free of animal and dairy products, but you can only be sure by checking each brand's site. For example, the site lists Absolut, Bacardi Rum, Grey Goose, Hangar 1, Malibu Rum and Skyy Vodka as liquors that are free of animal goods. For beers, they have Budweiser (except their Clamato variety), Coors and Coors Light, Miller Lite, High-Life, & Genuine Draft, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Yuengling as clear and free of animal products. Their vegan wine list includes Charles Shaw (red wines only), Frey Vineyards, The Vegan Vine, Red Truck Wines and Yellowtail (red wines only; not white or rosé).
However, just as some brands have exceptions for certain varieties of their products, it's best to call or check with each brand. Products change over time and companies don't always notify the public or other vegan or dairy-free website to help keep them up to date for consumers.