Is Rum Vegan? Surprises You Need To Know About In Rum

Is Rum Vegan? Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum. Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum. That’s right in this blog post we are going to be talking about every pirate’s favorite beverage – rum (like you couldn’t tell that from the opening sentence). A staple (and original creation) of the Caribbean, rum is one of the most popular, and if you are Cuban, controversial spirit drinks in the World. If you want to know how controversial just look into the story behind Bacardi and Havana Club (think Colt-Patriots rivalry, but with a communist regime thrown in the mix). P.s. if you want to learn more I strongly suggest this Business Wars Podcast dedicated to the whole thing. All this said and done, rum remains the second most popular spirit in the USA (after Vodka) with Captain Morgan’s Rum and Bacardi leading in liquor sales. The funniest part is that despite its Caribbean Roots, it is an Asian Rum Tanduay that leads the way as the most popular rum on the planet (it sells 35% more than Bacardi). Now, you are probably thinking this is all well and good but is rum even vegan? SPOILER ALERT – Malibu is not vegan.

Is Rum Vegan?

As a general rule, most rums are vegan. However, there are some rums that are not vegan. The main reasons for some rums not being vegan are the addition of honey or dairy (for example, “Rum Creams”) or non-vegan sugar being used in production. It tends to be flavored rums that sometimes are not vegan – most clear unflavored rums are vegan.

What is Rum?

Traditionally, Rum is a liquor produced by the fermentation and then distillation of sugarcane molasses or sugarcane juice (its official name is Genus Saccharum). Similar in production to that of Whiskey (which you can learn about more in my article: Is Whiskey Vegan? How To Actually Pick Vegan Whiskey), Rum instead of using grains uses sugarcane. Like Whiskey, Rum can also be aged in oak barrels for various periods of time.

How Is Rum Made?

Rum is made by fermenting and then distilling sugarcane molasses. Molasses is the by-product of refining sugar cane and is essentially considered a waste product of cane sugar processing. The better the sugar refining process, the lower the sugar content of the molasses for rum production.


The molasses are mixed with water and yeast to produce what is known as a ‘wash’. During this process, the yeast turns the sugar into alcohol and additional “flavor” compounds known as aldehydes, esters, and acids (collectively known as congeners).

Unlike other liquors, rum will undergo numerous fermentations (typically three to four) due to the nutrient denseness of the molasses used.


The final fermented batch is then distilled to evaporate the alcohol from the water and condense it back to create a concentrated stronger alcohol solution. It is during this process that distillers can control (what is known as “the cut”) the level of congeners that go into the distilled final rum.

Aging and Filtration

The final rum produced will be clear in color. Dark or colored rums will undergo a separate aging process in oak casks. In some instances, caramel color will also be added. Other Rums, such as Bacardi-style rums will undergo a charcoal filtration process – that helps to absorb certain unwanted flavor profiles and help give the rum a smoother flavor.


In some instances, distillers will blend different rums to create their final version. This is like Mezcals which can be blended to form unique “Tequila” style flavors (if you want to learn more about whether Tequila is vegan see my post: Is Tequila Vegan? How To Really Pick Vegan Tequila).

Types of Rum

There are various types of rum available. The most common styles you are likely to come across are:

  • White or Clear Rum: Think of the clear Bacardi that is commonly available. Clear, light, and milder in flavor. These styles of Rum are commonly used for cocktails.
  • Dark Rum: These are Rums that have been aged in oak barrels for various periods of time. These rums are stronger and come in a wider arrange of flavors.
  • Navy Rum:  A blend of aged rums from two or more former British Colonies: Barbados, Jamacia, Guyana, and Trinidad. These Rums get their name because they were carried by the British Navy following the colonization of several Caribbean islands. Rum also kept better than grape-based drinks on ships. These rums are fruity and rich in flavor. They also tend to be strong in ABV. Traditional “Navy Strength” British Royal Navy Rum must be at least 57% ABV.
  • Spiced Rum: Think Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rums. These types of rums have a whole host of different flavors and spices infused into the rums to create various flavor profiles. Flavors come from seeds, dried fruits, roots, leaves, and/or bark.

Vegan Rums – Summary Table

The below table is a summary of the most common rums available on the market and whether they are vegan or not. As you will see from the table, some rums are not vegan due to the addition of honey and/or dairy, or the use of non-vegan sugar (i.e. those that have been processed with bone char). In some instances, we just know the Rum is not vegan for some unknown reason.

The good news is that most rum is vegan (in fact a rough and ready calculation of the rums listed on Barnivore showed 90% as being vegan and 10% as not vegan).

Vegan Rums Non-Vegan Rums – Honey Non-Vegan Rums – Dairy   Non-Vegan Rums – Non-Vegan Sugar Non-Vegan Rums – Unknown Reason
Bacardi Rum  Siesta Key flavored rumsRum Chata  MalibuPirates Rum Golden Pirate  
Havana Club Rum  Adelaide Hills Gunnery Spiced White Rum  Rum-Bar Rum Cream   Sugar Island Coconut Rum & Spiced Rum
Tanduay Rum  Salford Honey Rum  Tamar Tipple Salted Caramel Rum Liqueur    
Kraken Rum  Tammar Tipple Honey Rum & Spiced Rum  Tamar Tipple Rum Toffee and Apple    
Blackheart Rum  Cayo Grande Club Ron Miel   
Lamb’s Spiced Rum      

Why is Rum Not Vegan?

Occasionally a rum is not vegan due to one of the following reasons:

1. The addition of honey (usually to spiced or flavored rums);

2. Non-vegan sugar is used (e.g. Malibu uses sugar that is processed in a non-vegan friendly way); or

3. Dairy is added – most commonly in rum creams (this is easy to spot though as they tend to have “cream in the name”). Occasionally flavored rums (e.g. caramel rum) contain dairy

I search through Barnivore (an amazing resource for finding out if your drink is vegan) to find examples of all these non-vegan rum exceptions. They can be classified into one of the following four categories.

Rum Containing Honey

Rum Containing Honey
Siesta Key flavored rums all contain honey Toasted Coconut (contains honey); Spiced (contains honey); Coffee (contains honey); & Beer Barrel Spiced (contains honey).   Note – Siesta Key Silver Rum is vegan.  
Adelaide Hills Gunnery Spiced White Rum (contains honey)  
Salford Honey Rum (contains honey)   Note – Salford Spiced Rum and Dark Spiced Rum are vegan  
Tamar Tipple Honey Rum (contains honey); & Tamar Tipple Spiced Rum (contains honey)  
Cayo Grande Club Ron Miel (contains honey)  

Rum Containing Non-Vegan Sugar

Malibu uses a sugar supplier that uses a non-vegan process (mostly likely the use of bone char).

Rum Containing Dairy

Rum Containing Dairy
Rum Chata  
Rum-Bar Rum Cream  
Tamar Tipple Salted Caramel Rum Liqueur  
Tamar Tipple Rum Toffee and Apple  

Rum That Is Not Vegan For Unknown Reasons

Rum That Is Not Vegan For Unknown Reasons
Pirates Rum Golden Pirate (probably honey – their Pink Rum is vegan)  
Sugar Island Coconut Rum  
Sugar Island Spiced Rum  

Is Spiced Rum Ever Vegan

Ah, Spiced Rum, that one drink that as my younger self, I simply drank too much of in one night never to look at again. However, if unlike me, you are a Spiced Rum fan you don’t have to feel completely deflated that some Spiced Rums can contain honey making them not vegan. I calculated the percentage of vegan vs non-vegan Spiced Rums on and the results are encouraging.

87% of spiced rums were vegan and 13% were not due to the contents of honey. This makes most Spiced Rums vegan. Obviously, avoid the Spiced Rums I mentioned in the above table – those are not vegan.

What Rums Are Vegan? A Breakdown Of The Big Rum Brands

I have dealt with a breakdown of what rum is, what rums are not vegan, and the potential non-vegan ingredients to look out for in Rum. Now it’s time to talk about the big brands. What big Rum brands (i.e. the ones you are most likely to come across unless you are a Rum connoisseur) are vegan?

Is Bacardi Rum Vegan?

Is Rum Vegan - Bacardi

Bacardi Rum does not contain any ingredients derived from animals and is vegan. Both Bacardi Rum and Bacardi Breezer are vegan. You can treat yourself to a bottle of Bacardi rum from Amazon here.

Is Havana Club Rum Vegan?

Is Rum Vegan - Havana Club

Havana Club Rum does not contain any ingredients derived from animals and is vegan. Havana Club rum is available from Instacart here.

Is Tanduay Rum Vegan?

Tanduay Rum (the world’s best-selling rum) does not contain any ingredients derived from animals and is vegan. You can treat yourself to a bottle of Tanduay Gold Asian rum on Instacart here.

Is Blackheart Rum Vegan?

Blackheart Premium Spiced Rum does not contain any ingredients derived from animals and is vegan. Blacheart rum is available on Instacart here.

Is Kraken Rum Vegan?

Is Rum Vegan - Kraken

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum does not contain any ingredients derived from animals and is vegan. You can treat yourself to a bottle of Kraken rum on Instacart here.

Is Lamb’s Spiced Rum Vegan?

Despite the name, Lamb’s Spiced Rum does not contain any ingredients derived from animals and is vegan. You can get a bottle of Lamb’s spiced rum delivered directly to your door via Drizly here.

Is Malibu Rum Vegan?

I know we have already addressed Malibu in this post so far – but it is such a well-known Rum brand I feel like it merits another mention.

As mentioned above, Malibu does not add animal derivatives to its drinks. However, one of their sugar suppliers uses a process that is not vegan. This means they cannot call their drinks vegan. This non-vegan process must be processing the sugar using bone char.

Bone char is essentially charred animal bones that are sometimes used to process (and particularly whiten) sugar. Bone char isn’t present in the resulting sugar, but it is used in the processing. Since bone char is present in a lot of food and drink products some vegans decide it isn’t an issue for them whereas for stricter vegans it is a deal-breaker.

Is Rum Vegan - The Final Sip

Is Rum Vegan? The Final Sip

Is Rum Vegan? Yes, for the most part, Rum is vegan. Okay, there are some heavy blows here. Malibu, for one, is not vegan. That is devastating – I am literally starting a petition to get them to change their sugar supplier to a vegan one. Also, if you are a fan of Spiced Rum you need to be particularly careful to avoid Spiced Rums which contain honey – something which is not always clear on the label. Other than that, a lot of the big brands of Rum are vegan. If you want a decent Rum for a cocktail, you have Bacardi or Havana Club (depending on where you stand on the “Havana Club Thing”). If you want a Spiced Rum – Kraken, Blackheart, or Lamb’s. Whatever your choice you can be vegan, sit back, and enjoy whatever your favorite Rum drink is – Cuba Libre for me please (I am a simple soul). Oh, and in case you were wondering what Cola to use in your Cuba Libra  I have you covered – just check out my posts (depending on where you stand on the whole Pepsi v Coke thing): Is Pepsi Vegan? Secrets To Know About Pepsi Drinks and Is Coca-Cola Vegan? Secrets To Know About Pepsi Drinks.

Is Rum Vegan

…now you know.

Beverage makers may change ingredients and/or manufacturing processes. Always double-check ingredients before purchasing any beverages.

Please Drink Responsibly.

Like What You Are Reading

Need to know more? Think your favorite beer or wine is vegan? How about your favorite Vodka, Tequila, or Gin – think those are vegan? Time to find out – check out some of my other articles:


Vegan and Non-Vegan Rums on (as at 30 Dec 2021)

Editorial Team

The Vegan Bev HQ Editorial Team - helping you find the best vegan drink out there!

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