You might be wondering: aren't all beers vegan? They aren't made from meat or dairy, right?
Well, beers obviously don't have meat or dairy in them. But some beers are made with animal products.
Beer becomes non-vegan during the fining process when gelatin is used to "flocculate" yeast and other suspended particles that make the beer cloudy, so that they settle out. The gelatin may be the kind you buy at the store to make jello, which is made from the bones and skin of pigs and cows. Or it could be isinglass, an especially pure gelatin made from the swim bladders of fish.
It turns out that making vegan beer is very simple. It's just a matter of substituting one ingredient for another. The vegan-friendly alternative for very small breweries like 7Sisters is a product called Biofine Clear. Because Biofine Clear is used in much the same way as gelatin, the decision to make the substitution is normally based on cost. Biofine Clear is about 7 times the cost of gelatin (depending on your dosing rate).
Members of our local vegan community, including customers and the wonderful people from SLO Vegan Guide, convinced us that making vegan beers was the way to go. SLO Vegan Guide recently interviewed brewmaster Steve about making vegan beer. We have switched over to Biofine Clear, and now all of our beers are 100% vegan!
Not only that, but we explicitly advertise our beer (along with any guest beers, ciders, wines, and craft sodas) as being vegan. Brewing with Biofine Clear isn't what makes us unique-- a lot of small breweries brew with it! But we don't think vegan customers should constantly have to wonder and ask. So we make it clear: Anything you drink here at 7Sisters is vegan.
We also worked really hard to create yummy vegan menu items, including grilled cheese and chili! These recipes took quite a bit of experimentation to find the perfect melty "cheese" (made from cashews), and to make the chili have that rich texture (the trick is lots of mushrooms and walnuts). We are expanding our vegan menu items soon!
With our commitment to vegan-friendly beverages and a selection of vegan menu items, we are proud to be SLO's most vegan-friendly brewery!
Steve & Emily