I just came across a video from Donald Trumps former advisor Larry Kudlow where he talks about "plant based beer" (video).

OK, got that? No burgers on 4 July. No steaks on the barbecue … So get ready. You can throw back a plant-based beer with your grilled Brussels sprouts and wave your American flag. Call it July 4th Green. Now, I'm making fun of this because I intend to make fun of it. This kind of thing is stupid. It comes from a bunch of ideological zealots who don't care one whit about America's well-being. Not one whit.

To me this sounds like as if US American beer would usually contain animal products. Is that true? This sounds pretty unbelievable to someone from Europe. If it is true, what parts of which animal are usually used?

EDIT To clarify, for the context of this question I assume animals to be the biological kingdom of animals, so including insects, but excluding fungi such as yeast.

Second EDIT I know there is a lot of political arguments involved, but that's not what I am after. My question is seriously about animal products in beer. In Europe we hear all kinds of stories about what is contained in US American beer, such as artificial flavors, colors, foaming agents etc. I think most of that is false, or at least I hope so. Now, hearing someone talk about meat based food and plant based food and then talking about plant based beer does make me wonder if there usually are animal products in US American beer. In this context talking about plant based beer as something new/unusual does imply that current US American beer includes animal products. And that is what I am skeptical about, hence my question. Please note that I am well aware that Larry Kudlow never explicitly claims that current US American beer contains animal products, but the way he talks about plant based beer sounds to me as if he implicitly wants to make that claim.

So, for me a good answer would be for example "Yes, the implicit claim that US American beer contains animal products is true, because it is common practice to use animal fat to change the viscosity of the beer." or "No, the implicit claim that US American beer contains animal products is false, because it is actually forbidden by law."

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    Do you count single-celled creatures, like yeast, as animals?
    – RedSonja
    Apr 27, 2021 at 9:01
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    It's not a direct claim, as such, so maybe not on topic here. Thus, not an answer: isinglass. Apr 27, 2021 at 9:43
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    You are jumping from the idea of plant based beer to the assumption that other beer must contain animal products. However while yeast is not animal it is also not plant so "plant based beer" could simply mean "yeast free beer" with no implication that other beer contains animal products.
    – Eric Nolan
    Apr 27, 2021 at 10:28
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    You are misinterpreting, and you are asking the wrong question. Almost all of the linked video is laced with fallacies. The only part that isn't a fallacy is that beer is indeed "plant-based". Beer is made from water, a starchy plant (preferably barley), hops (the flowers from the hops plant), yeast, and outside of Germany, various flavorings. Some beers might use isinglass, but even with those, you are missing the point. Apr 27, 2021 at 13:01
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    @DonThousand You too are misinterpreting what was intended to be a humorous statement in a Fox News hit piece. Per Fox News, beer is the only part of a backyard barbecue that is safe from attack by the Biden administration. Has COVID removed peoples sense of humor? Apr 27, 2021 at 13:52

1 Answer 1


Larry Kudlow said that "plant-based beer" phrase in the middle of a diatribe against liberals'/Biden alleged plan to limit beef consumption and supposedly other animal products.

The "plant-based beer" phrase is not commonly heard otherwise and was mocked (on the left) for the fact that beer is mostly plant-based.

Having said that, according to Wikipedia, there is a concern among some vegetarians whether beer contains any traces of animal products:

Some beer brewers add finings to clarify the beer when racking into a barrel. Finings can include plant-derived products, like Irish moss, or animal-derived products, like isinglass and gelatin.

Most breweries do not reveal if they do or do not use animal products in the processing of their beers;

Kudlow may have been alluding to this in an attempt at hyperboles, but since he did not elaborate on the beer angle in the rest of his diatribe, we don't really know if that's somehow what he was referring to by "plant-based beer". According to some of Kudlow's critics, his intent wasn't to be clear about any of it anyway...

Amid a blizzard of lacerating social media send-ups, the New York Times columnist Paul Krugman offered a sober analysis of what Kudlow was up to.

“So this seems to be the latest rightwing attempt to smear Bidenomics,” he wrote on Saturday. “There is, of course, nothing about eliminating meat in Biden’s plans; so this is like the imaginary mobs that burned our cities to the ground.

“If you read what Kudlow actually said, he’s cagey – doesn’t say that Biden proposed this, only that some people say this is what would happen. But Fox viewers won’t notice, which is the intention. [...]

It’s all false claims about evil liberals, which the base is expected to believe because it’s primed to believe in liberal villainy. They’re not even trying to engage on actual issues.”

A Vox article found it fit to add that while Biden's plan doesn't say anything about farming or meat it actually should because such studies on the impact of meat consumption of climate change are fairly easy to find. In fact, Fox News (and the Daily Mail) imputed to Biden's administration such a plan precisely because they could find such studies, even though they were not mentioned by Biden's plan:

On Monday, Fox News’ John Roberts admitted the error on-air: “a graphic and the script incorrectly implied it [the Michigan study] was part of Biden’s plan for dealing with climate change. That is not the case.” But it was too late: the graphic had already motivated of the more prominent false claims on social media [...]

However nothing was apparently said in that study about ["plant-based" or vegetarian] beer (and [not] using trace animal products in its processing); that was all added by Kudlow for "making fun of [it]" purposes, it seems.

On the other hand, there are some studies on the impact of beer on climate change that aren't too flattering toward beer (regardless what animal trace products it may or may not contain):

Wine and beer has according to the present investigation low NDCI [Nutrient Density to Climate Impact] indexes, contributing with few nutrients to comparatively high GHG emissions, and have primarily a gastronomic role of the meal.

Apparently the right-wing press hasn't discovered these studies yet... or they might worry that beer could be banned altogether...

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    You added the relevant quote to the Q but missed the blatantly obvious meaning he presented. If you feel this answer is necessary, then point out that 'critics pointing out beer to be plant based' fail to grasp the obvious as well: 'sprouts are allowed, and so is beer, because it is also plant based – and that's then all what's left from what I call a traditional BBQ'. 'Rightwing' et al here is context not relevant to the Q, and w/o a proper explanation of the quote: I'd say unnecessry bias & spin. Apr 27, 2021 at 14:44
  • @LangLаngС: I don't really understand what you're complaining about, but you're [obviously] welcome to add your own answer with your deeper explanation on the "blatantly obvious meaning he presented". Apr 27, 2021 at 14:45
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    Well, I explained in comment below Q that this is eitehr a simple misunderstanding or political badgering, thus not notable and 'shouldn't be answered at all here. Then I just explained to you here that those 'critics' fall into the same trap (to put it gently) as we did: believing this to be some dichotomy between (non-)plant-based beers or such things. 'The critics' are wrong, the question too easily solved by just reading the 1 sentence from the transcript: Nowhere is Kudlow saying sth like 'meat-based beers are now banned as well'. I'd say, some ppl seeing the vid misunderstand on purpose. Apr 27, 2021 at 14:56
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    I agree with @LangLаngС. This is one of those questions that should have been closed for non-notability and simply left unanswered. Suppose the OP had instead asked "does the Biden administration plan to drastically reduce meat consumption" and based the question on the linked video. That would have made for a notable question. But that's not what the OP asked. Apr 27, 2021 at 15:24
  • All that being said, it should still be pointed out that a few American craft beers are fined with gelatin or isinglass, and are therefore not strictly vegan, though they are certainly still "plant-based". Apr 27, 2021 at 19:04

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