Updated: May 6, 2020
Cinco de Mayo celebrates the victory of the Mexican army over France at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Cinco de Mayo, also known as Battle of Puebla Day, does not celebrate Mexican Independence Day. Instead, it celebrates a single, pivotal victory within the Franco-Mexican War. Cinco de Mayo is a minor holiday in Mexico. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo evolved to celebrate Mexican culture (History.com 2009).
It's hard to imagine Cinco de Mayo without beer and tequila, but not all options are vegan. Barnivore, a vegan guide, verifies that alcoholic drinks are free of animal products. "Brewmasters, winemakers, and distillers may include animal ingredients in their products directly, or they might use them in the processing and filtration (Barnivore)." In addition to the expected eggs, milk, gelatin, or honey in some alcoholic beverages, there are additional ingredients that can come as a surprise (Vegan Questions 2018). During the fining process to filter the beer and make it clear, bright, and attractive, brewers commonly use casein (a milk ingredient), gelatin, and isinglass (Vegan Questions 2018. Isinglass is a gelatin made from fish swim bladders that has been used as a fining agent in beer since the 19th Century (Barnes 2016). Since isinglass is not a direct ingredient and not considered an allergen, it is rarely listed on the label (Notte 2014).
Below are a few verified animal-free alcoholic options perfect for Cinco de Mayo!
1. Grupo Modelo Beers
Grupo Modelo Beers is a large Mexican brewery. As of 2012, Modelo was the seventh-largest beer producer in the world (Nafta 2012). Grupo holds several well-known beer trademarks, including Corona, Pacifico, Tropical Light, and Victoria. These popular brands are all animal-free (Garrett 2012, Barnivore). You can read Barnivore's article, "Corona is Vegan Friendly," for more information.
2. Coors Light Mexico
Did you know that a drink can be vegan in one country and not another? Beverage licensing differs from country to country, changing products used in the manufacturing process (Barnivore). One of those products is Coors.
Molson Coors Brewing Company is the world's third-largest bewing company(Garrett 2012). Coors-branded beer in Mexico, USA, and Canada are vegan. Coors UK is not animal-free. Coors UK uses isinglass finings in the clarification process. Coors US and Mexico transitioned to an animal-free manufacturing process (Barnivore).
Did you know that a drink can be vegan in one country and not another?
3. XX Dos Equis
Mexican lagers are one of the most popular beers in the US, including Dos Equis. (Wolinski 2018). Dos Equis is best known for their marketing advertisements - it's hard to forget the "Most Interesting Man In The World" campaign. Not only is Dos Equis memorable, but XX Dos Equis is also vegan! XX Dos Equis commented, "...te comentamos que ninguna de nuestras cervezas está elaborada con algún producto animal," which roughly translates to "...we comment that none of our beers are made with animal products."
4. Tequila Fortaleza
Tequila Fortaleza is dedicated to traditionally distilling tequila (Tequila Fortaleza). "Tequila Fortaleza does not contain any animal ingredients; it is completely additive free, made only from 100% agave, natural yeast, and water, and is hand bottled on our estate in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico (Barnivore)."
5. Frank-Lin Distillers, USA
"Frank-Lin [USA] does not use any animal ingredients or byproducts in our facility. This includes fining agents such as gelatin or isinglass. Frank-Lin brand products are produced exclusively in Fairfield, California. We do not currently co-pack or co-manufacture any products under our labels (Barnivore)." As such, Frank-Lin's products are animal-free, save for their cream products.
Frank-Lin distributes many popular tequila brands including Sol de Mexico Tequila, Senor Rio Tequila, Puente Grande Tequila, and Baja Tequila.
De parte de todos aquí en VeganMed, ¡tengan un feliz y SEGURO Cinco de Mayo!
From everyone here at VeganMed, have a happy and SAFE Cinco de Mayo!
Alcoholic beverages are intended only for responsible adults of legal drinking age in the United States of America (21 years old or older). Do not drink and drive. VeganMed does not advocate or encourage the abuse of alcoholic beverages. Please drink responsibly and with moderation.
Andrews, Colman, and Grant Suneson. “America's 26 Top-Selling Beers Show That the Country Still Likes a Cold One Now and Then.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 17 Oct. 2018, www.usatoday.com/story/money/food/2018/10/17/beer-consumption-these-americas-26-top-selling-beers/38104743/.
Barnes, Liam. "The fishy ingredient in beer that bothers vegetarians." BBC News. 15 September, 2016. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-37350233.
“Fortaleza History.” Tequila Fortaleza, tequilafortaleza.com/the-history-of-tequila-fortaleza/.
Grupo Modelo. Grupo Modelo, www.gmodelo.mx/es.
Grupo Modelo Beers. “Corona Is Vegan Friendly.” Barnivore, Your Vegan Wine and Beer Guide, www.barnivore.com/products/668-corona.
History.com Editors. “Cinco De Mayo.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 23 Oct. 2009, www.history.com/topics/holidays/cinco-de-mayo.
Nafta. “North American Free Trade Agreement.” Success Stories | NAFTANow.org, 5 May 2012, www.naftanow.org/success/mexico1_en.html.
Notte, Jason. "Why Ingredients Don't Appear on Beer Labels". TheStreet. 24 June, 2014. https://www.thestreet.com/personal-finance/why-ingredients-dont-appear-on-beer-labels-12753874.
Oliver, Garrett. The Oxford Companion to Beer. Oxford University Press, 2012.
Vegan Questions. "Can Vegans Drink Beer?" PBN Academy. 6 November, 2018. https://academy.plantbasednews.org/blog/can-vegans-drink-beer.
Wolinski, Cat. “9 Things You Should Know About Dos Equis.” VinePair, 21 Dec. 2018, vinepair.com/articles/dos-equis-best-mexican-lager/.