Is Ginger Ale Vegan? Ginger – it’s the hair color for less than 2 percent of the world. That’s not how you thought this article was going to start right? Okay, let’s get serious. Ginger – bake it, make it into bread, pickle it, stick it into tea, make it into chewing gum (yes, there is Ginger Chewing Gum and you can buy it on Amazon and yes it is vegan), cook with, or (how could we forget it’s most popular use) make it into Ginger Beer or Ginger Ale. Ginger, is one of the more unique flavor profiles – it’s kind of spicy, but not really at the same time – eat enough and you will feel that “kick”. I mean come on, is it a herb or is it a spice (apparently, we all disagree on this – I will reveal the answer at the bottom of the article for you). Let’s face it, it is something you either love or you just don’t…and the chances are that if you are reading this then you fall into the former. Welcome to the club. Now, let’s find out, what is Ginger Beer, what is the difference between Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale, and most importantly Is Ginger Ale / Beer Vegan? (I’ll also provide a brand-by-brand breakdown).
Is Ginger Ale Vegan?
As a general rule, Ginger Ale is a vegan-friendly drink. Most brands use high fructose corn syrup to sweeten their ginger ales which are vegan. The main potential non-vegan ingredient in ginger ale is ‘natural flavors’ as this could potentially include honey.
What is Ginger Ale?
Ginger Ale is carbonated water that has been flavored with Ginger. Ginger Ale is essentially ginger-flavored soda. “Hold on, is there a difference between Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer?”. Yes, there is.
Is Ginger Ale the Same as Ginger Beer?
Ginger Beer is different from Ginger Ale. The difference is all down to how it is made. Whilst, Ginger Ale is ginger-flavored soda water, historically Ginger Beer is made by the fermentation of ginger, yeast, water, and sugar. This is a process that originated in Yorkshire, England around the mid-18th century. The result is a much stronger and spicier flavor profile than Ginger Ale.
Whilst Ginger Beer use to be brewed and fermented, modern non-alcoholic ginger beers are just carbonated versions. These versions tend to contain real ginger plus ginger extract to give them an extra “ginger-kick”. In comparison, Ginger Ales tend to only contain real ginger for flavoring.
So, what is the difference – Ginger Beer has more of a ginger kick. In this article, I will be focusing on non-alcoholic Ginger Ale and Beer. However, there are alcoholic Ginger Beers available on the market which have been gaining popularity as a beer alternative (in Australia Ginger Beer sales have been reported to grow 80% over the last two years).
What about Soda?
Do you think your favorite Soda is vegan? Did you want to find out? How about that Red Bull you go to every morning – think that is vegan? Well, happily you can now find out. For more information check out some of my other articles:
- Is Soda Vegan? Unlock All You Need to Know
- Are Energy Drinks Vegan? Complete Guide To Finding Out
- Is Orange Juice Vegan? Revealing Why You Need To Know
- Is Coca-Cola Vegan? Secrets To Know About Coca-Cola Drinks
- Is Pepsi Vegan? Secrets To Know About Pepsi Drinks
- Is Root Beer Vegan? Unlock The Hidden Root Cause
- Is Cream Soda Vegan? Unlock All You Need To Know
Is Ginger Ale Vegan – Ingredient Breakdown
In this section, I will break down the most common individual ingredients in Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer.
It’s water. You need it to live. It is vegan unless they have found a way to make water not vegan.
The sweeteners most typically used are sugar or high fructose syrup. High Fructose Corn syrup is vegan.
Sugar is a bit more complicated. In the US sugar isn’t always vegan as it is often processed with bone char. The problem is that there is no way to tell if the sugar used in your Ginger Ale or Beer is processed with Bone Char or not (unless the specific brand explicitly confirms it as vegan on their packaging or on their website). This is because sugar is usually just listed as “sugar”. This is an issue for strict vegans in the US, but for other vegans, it is not a deal-breaker. If you are based outside of the US bone char sugar isn’t an issue.
Ginger comes from the Zingiber Officinale, a herbaceous perennial plant of the family Zingiberaceae. Ginger comes from the underground stem of the plant (its root). It is vegan.
Caramel in this instance is not referring to dairy caramel, but to a dark caramel color. It is what gives Ginger Ales and Beers their light golden color. It does not contain dairy. Caramel color is made from heating corn or sugar. The sugar used could be fructose, sucrose, molasses, malt syrup, or regular cane sugar. Obviously, if the caramel is made from cane sugar, then the whole question of bone char opens again which could be an issue for strict vegans.
However, most caramel color in Northern America and Europe is derived from corn and so is vegan. You can never know for sure but the chance of caramel color not being vegan. There is a very slim chance, but on the balance, it’s safe to assume the caramel color is vegan.
This acts as a preservative and helps to give the Ginger Ale or Beer its tangy flavor which is associated with Sodas. Vegan.
You can never really know what is meant by natural flavors. Natural flavors can be derived from both animal sources and from plant sources. Rest assured that if natural flavors are derived from dairy this would have to be listed as an allergen.
There is always the chance natural flavors could include honey – especially for Ginger Ales (some manufacturers do not like disclosing their ginger/spice recipe so just label it as natural flavors for commercial reasons). The Wikipedia page on Ginger Ale specifically talks about the potential of natural flavors including honey – this means there is a chance natural flavors are not vegan.
Sodium Benzoate is the standard go-to preservative for most Sodas. This compound is considered vegan and is produced synthetically by reacting benzoic acid with sodium hydroxide, neither of which is taken from animal sources. It is used in drinks to prevent spoilage from harmful bacteria, yeast, and mold, as well as help, maintain the chemical balance of food mixtures.
Is Ginger Ale Vegan – Brand Breakdown
Now that we have covered what goes into Ginger Ale and Beer, let’s go through the main Ginger Ale and Beer brands available.
Is Schweppes Ginger Ale Vegan?
Schweppes is owned by Coca-Cola in Ireland, the UK, and New Zealand. Coca-Cola Great Britain has stated that most of its drinks are vegan and has listed the exceptions. Schweppes Ginger Ale is not on the exception list and so is vegan in the UK. In contrast, Schweppes Orange Squash and Schweppes Indian Tonic Water are on the non-vegan list.
If you would like to read more about which Coca-Cola drinks are vegan and which are not then you can in the post I wrote about it – Is Coca-Cola Vegan? Secrets to Know About Coca-Cola Drinks.
What About Schweppes Ginger Ale?
Schweppes is owned by Keurig Dr. Pepper in the US. There is no official statement on the vegan status. Schweppes Ginger Ale is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup rather than sugar, so the sweetener is vegan. It does contain natural flavors, so there is the slightest chance these are not vegan, but on the balance, Schweppes Ginger Ale looks vegan-friendly in the US too. You can buy Schweppes Ginger Ale on Amazon here.
Is Seagrams Ginger Ale Vegan?
Seagrams Ginger Ale looks most likely to be vegan friendly. It is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup which is vegan. It does contain natural flavors so there is always the chance these are not vegan, but on balance, Seagrams Ginger Ale looks vegan-friendly. You can buy Seagrams Ginger Ale on Amazon here.
Is Vernors Ginger Ale Vegan?
Vernors is the oldest surviving Ginger Ale in the US.
Vernors Ginger Ale appears to be vegan friendly. It is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup which is vegan. Again it does contain natural flavors so there is always the chance these are not vegan, but on balance, Vernors Ginger Ale looks vegan-friendly. You can buy Vernors Ginger Ale on Amazon here.
Is Canada Dry Ginger Ale Vegan?
Canada Dry it’s the Coca-Cola to Schweppes’ Pepsi. Ironically, both are owned by Keurig Dr. Pepper.
Canada Dry Ginger Ale is probably one of the most popular Ginger Ales on the market. According to Statista 17% of 18–49-year-olds and 18% of 50-64 year old would have drunk Canada Dry in the last 4 weeks. From my research, it does look to be vegan-friendly. It is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup which is vegan. It does contain natural flavors so there is always the chance these are not vegan, but most likely Canada Dry is vegan. You can buy Canada Dry Ginger Ale from Amazon here.
Is Bundaberg Ginger Beer Vegan?
Bundaberg Ginger beer contains yeast. On Bundaberg’s website it states the following about the yeast used:
“The yeast we use in our brewing process is Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, which is suitable for Lacto Vegetarians, Ovo-Lacto Vegetarians”.
If you are wondering a “lactovegetarian” is a person who doesn’t eat meat, fish, and eggs but eats dairy. An “Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian” on the other hand is a person who doesn’t eat meat or fish but does eat dairy and eggs.
Based on their above statement it then means that Bundaberg is not suitable for vegans (as it may contain dairy). However, I decided to do some more research.
Saccharomyces Cerevisiae looks very much vegan. Also, it states on Bundaberg’s website that their products do not contain any allergens – dairy is obviously an allergen. Based on this it looks like the yeast is vegan.
Bundaberg ginger beer contains cane sugar, but Bundaberg is made in Australia and bone char does not tend to be used to process sugar outside of the US. The sugar looks vegan.
Bundaberg does contain natural flavors so as above there is always the chance this encompasses honey.
Is Ginger Ale Soda Vegan?
In the above, we have been talking just about Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer. If you are looking down any Ginger Ale aisle at the grocery store, as you do, you may come across Ginger Ale Soda as well. So, what is Ginger Ale Soda, and is it Vegan?
Ginger Ale soda is the same thing as Ginger Ale. For example, on the Vernors website they call their Ginger Ale – “ginger soda (ale)”. The words soda and ale can be used interchangeably. They are the same thing.
Is Diet Ginger Ale Vegan?
How about Diet Ginger Ales? Are they vegan and what is the difference between the “Diet” and “Non-Diet” versions?
Diet Ginger Ales use artificial sweeteners in the place of sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Some artificial sweeteners are tested on animals so whether this is a deal-breaker depends on your stance as a vegan. However, there are some vegan Diet Ginger Ales out there – your best option is Zevia Ginger Ale (which is sweetened Stevia it is even listed on the Amazon listing as vegan – happy dance) and Virgil’s Zero Sugar Ginger Ale, which can be bought on Amazon here.
Is Ginger Ale Vegan – Some Vegan Ginger Ales Brands
All the above Ginger Ale brands appear vegan-friendly. They are mostly sweetened with high fructose corn syrup which is vegan and only the use of “Natural Flavors” brings into question if they contain honey.
But what if you want a solid 100% go-to vegan Ginger Ale brand? Then you are in luck because they are some brands of Ginger and Diet Ginger Ale that categorically state they are vegan. These are:
See point 4 of Virgil’s FAQs which simply states “Yes, all of our Virgil’s sodas are vegan”. You can treat yourself to some on Amazon here. Virgil’s also makes a Diet Zero Ginger Beer (and a Root Beer which I discuss in detail in my article Is Root Beer Vegan? Unlock the Hidden Root Cause).
See the last FAQ under Jone’s “General” questions section which states “Yes! All current flavors are gluten-free and vegan”. FYI, Jones Soda does not list the Ginger Beer on their website currently, but it does look available on Amazon
Fever Tree has confirmed to Barnivore that their products are “suitable for vegans, we do not use any animal-derived ingredients or processing materials”. You can treat yourself to some from Amazon here.
Sweetened with only Stevia Zevia offer a “sugar-free” option. Their FAQs also proclaim: “We take great care in choosing ingredients that are used in our products. We are self-declared Vegan and all of our ingredients are 100% Vegan.” You can find it on Amazon here (the listing even mentions it is vegan yay!).
Is Hard Ginger Beer Vegan?
Hang on, how about the alcoholic variety of ginger beer? Is this vegan? I took a look around Barnivore to find out and put together the following table.
|Vegan Hard Ginger Beer||Non-Vegan Hard Ginger Beer|
|Stone’s Ginger Beer||Frog Beer Ginger Twist (contains Isinglass)|
|Farmer Willie’s Craft Ginger Beer||Hawkesbury Ginger Beer (cannot guarantee vegan due to fining process)|
|The Ginger Kid Ginger Beer||Hadrian Border Ginger Beer (contains Isinglass)|
|Barritt’s Ginger Beer||Buckeye Honey Ginger Beer (contains Isinglass)|
|Boom Original Ginger Beer||Matso’s Ginger Beer (contains Isinglass)|
|Pitfield Ginger Beer||Sparkke Ginger Beer (contains honey)|
|Ginger Grizzly Alcoholic Ginger Beer||Crabbie’s Ginger Beer (contains Isinglass)|
|Propeller Ginger Beer|
|Matso’s Low Sugar Ginger Beer|
|Hawkes Alcoholic Ginger Beer|
|Fentimans Traditional Ginger Beer|
|Fentimans Cool Ginger Beer|
|Nova Paka Ginger Beer|
|Philips Ginger Beer|
|Speight’s Ginger Beer|
|Boom Strawberry Splash Ginger Beer|
|Barrels & Drums Ginger Beer|
|CUB Bluetongue Alocholic Ginger|
|Fat Pixie Hard Ginger Beer|
|James Squire Alcoholic Ginger Beer|
|Boom Midnight Spice Ginger Beer|
|Boom Moscow Mule Ginger Beer|
|Swashbuckler Bermuda Triangle Ginger Beer|
|Sprig & Fern Ginger Beer|
|Zeffer Alcoholic Real Ginger Beer|
|Unity Vibration Kombucha Beer – Ginger|
|East 9th Lick Pier Ginger Beer|
|Broom Dark & Stormy Ginger Beer|
|Root Sellers Pedal Hard Ginger Beer|
|Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Alcoholic Ginger Beer|
|The Welder’s Dog Farmhouse Ginger Beer|
|Oitava Colina Vila Martins Ginger Beer|
|Ginger Grouse Alcoholic Ginger Beer|
|Umbrella Brewing Ginger Beer|
|Pitfield Whiskey Ginger Beer|
|Caldera Ginger Beer|
|Islander Ginger Beer|
I was most sad to find out Crabbie’s was not vegan. I used to love Crabbie’s when I used to live in the UK before I went vegan.
Is Ginger Ale Vegan? – The Final Sip
Who would have thought Ginger Beer…no, wait Ginger Ale? Hold on, it’s Ginger Soda, right?! Who would have thought that one drink could be reinvented in so many ways? At the end of the day, they are pretty much all the same thing – carbonated water, that has been flavored with ginger and sweetened with either sugar (hopefully the vegan kind), high fructose corn syrup, or stevia. And all of this is just for the non-alcoholic Ginger Beer.
Whether Ginger Beer (the alcoholic type) is vegan raises a whole host of potential non-vegan issues which we have learned from similar fermentation processes used in Beer, Cider, and Wines (all of which I have written about Is Cider Vegan? How to Know the Pressing Truth, Is Beer Vegan? Introducing the Secret to Finding Out, and Why is Wine Not Vegan? How to Know the Truth).
In the interim, sit back, crack open a can of something Ginger infused and enjoy the spice. Oh, and if you were wondering Ginger is a tropical herb (and bonus fact – it is not a root, but an underground stem) – is anything simple with this plant?
…now you know.
Beverage makers may change ingredients and/or manufacturing processes. Always double-check ingredients before purchasing any beverages.
Like What You Are Reading
Want to learn more? Need to know if your favorite Soda is vegan? How about that morning coffee or orange juice – think those are vegan…well do you? It’s time to find out. Check out some of my other non-alcoholic vegan articles:
- Is Soda Vegan? Revealing What you Need to Know
- Is Coca-Cola Vegan? Secrets to Know About Coca-Cola Drinks
- Is Pepsi Vegan? Secrets to Know About Pepsi Drinks
- Is Cream Soda Vegan? Unlock All You Need to Know
- Is Root Beer Vegan? Unlock the Hidden Root Cause
- Is Orange Juice Vegan? Revealing Why You Need to Know
- Is Kombucha Vegan? The Complete Facts You Need to Know
- Is Vitamin Water Vegan? How to Know the Difference
- Are Energy Drinks Vegan? Complete Guide to Finding Out