Home vegan Is Root Beer Vegan? Are There Any Vegan Root Beers?

Is Root Beer Vegan? Are There Any Vegan Root Beers?

In the past, I have seen root beer on the menu of vegan restaurants and believe it to be similar to most other drinks. But since discovering that it is made from potatoes (and also contains gatorade), I am questioning this! Could I be missing out on something? Could root beers be vegan? Or are root beers just made from potatoes?

I’m on a mission to eliminate my root beer addiction. I’ll get around to it, I just hope I can find enough of the stuff. While I occasionally drink it, I’m NOT a big fan of the taste or the way it messes with my system. The best thing about it is that it is completely plant-based and the ingredient list is minimal: no corn syrup, no MSG, and no animal products. It has a delicious aftertaste that takes me back to my youth when I used to drink root beer from an old fashioned glass.

If you’ve been in the market for some root beer, you might have noticed that it’s not being made anymore. It looks like the process was changed from cane sugar to corn syrup — I’m not sure why that happened, but that’s what it is. It’s time for root beer fans to be prepared for a new alternative. This post explains how to make your own root beer at home, which includes a recipe for a nice, creamy homemade root beer — or you can buy products like this one.

Generally speaking, most root beers are considered vegan-friendly. The difference between it and beer is that it is not traditionally refined with isinglass (fish bladder) or gelatin, and it does not typically contain any animal derivatives, such as honey. Root beer ingredients typically include roots and herbs, plant-based foaming agents, delicious spices such as nutmeg and star anise, and a vegan-friendly sweetener, among other things. On the other hand, ingredients such as lactose or honey are occasionally added.

The good news is that many of the most popular root beer brands, such as A & W, Barq’s, Abita, Bundaberg, and Mug, are completely vegan-approved. You may, however, be concerned about their sweeteners given that refined sugar is sometimes processed using animal bone char, which you can read about here. Then you can rest assured that all of these brands (with the exception of Mug Root Beer, which does contain sugar) are sweetened with either cane sugar (which is vegan-friendly) or high fructose corn syrup, which is not harmful to your health. However, while these are not the healthiest options, they are not produced at the expense of our animal friends, making them acceptable for vegans to consume in moderation.

That being said, root beer from brands such as Sprecher, Dominion, Pitchfork, Coney Island, Smirnoff, Joe’s, and Red Monkeys, as well as any root beer that contains the word “Honey” in its name or ingredients list, is not suitable for vegans because it contains either dairy products or honey, or both of the above ingredients.

It is a sweet soft drink that is traditionally made with the vine of the sarsaparilla tree, Smilax ornata (sarsaparilla), or the bark of the sassafras tree (Sassafras albidum), as the primary flavoring ingredient. The flavor of this soft drink is extremely popular. Because it has such a distinct flavor (that, obviously, does not correspond to citrus fruit or other fruits), people frequently inquire as to whether it is vegan.

Is it suitable for vegans? Root beer is generally regarded as vegan, and this is correct. A variety of roots and herbs (for example, sassafras albidum), foaming agents (for example, quillaja saponaria, manihot esculenta, and others), spices (for example, allspice and nutmeg), and other non-animal-derived ingredients (for example, sugar, molasses, and yeast) are used as the primary ingredients. 2

What we’ll do here is go over a few of the more well-known root beer brands and determine whether or not they’re vegan. We’ll also talk about root beer-flavored foods and root beer-based food products that aren’t vegan, if they aren’t already.

What Causes Root Beer to Be Generally Considered Vegan?

The traditional root beer recipe is made entirely of plant-based ingredients, with a variety of vegan-friendly additives to round out the flavor profile.

Plant-based diets have made their way into the mainstream, thanks in large part to the increasing popularity of veganism. As a result, there has been an increase in the availability of vegan products, meat substitutes, and more nutritious dairy alternatives.

I’ve seen several supermarkets that have a separate section dedicated solely to vegan foods (which is good). But, as a vegan, how can you tell if the products you’re buying are truly what they claim to be? The contents of some products are completely different from what they are advertised as being. In that case, you should look into the ingredients, additives, and manufacturing process that were used to create them in greater detail.

What do you say, instant root beer? Is it suitable for vegans? The first time I heard about it, I was surprised by how far it strayed from its literal meaning.

So, is root beer a vegan beverage? Root beer is, in fact, vegan. It is an alcoholic beverage from the United States that has a distinct sweet herbal flavor. Traditionally, it was made by fermenting a herbal decoction of sarsaparilla root and sassafras bark with yeast and sugar, then straining it. Keep an eye out for businesses that have incorporated animal products, such as honey, into their recipes.

There is a plethora of information available on root beer. As previously stated, you must be familiar with the ingredients and, more importantly, the method of preparation used to make the drink before placing your trust in them. Because additives can be produced in a variety of ways, I’m emphasizing the method of production. On that note, the caramel flavor found in most root beers raises a lot of eyebrows among vegans because it is not vegan-friendly.

In addition to artificial sugars, root beer is made with natural sugars, but keep in mind that some of them, such as lactose from milk, are not vegan. So, how exactly do you think companies manage to keep the beverage 100 percent vegan if that’s the case? Continue reading for more information!

Root Beer’s Veggie-Friendly Status

Take a look at the ingredients list to see if you can incorporate this beverage into your vegan diet. Due to the fact that its original recipe did not contain any animal products, root beer is generally regarded as vegetarian or vegan. However, today’s manufacturers are substituting artificial herb flavors for the natural herb flavors found in beer. In addition, they are carbonating the drink rather than culturing it in order to create a fizzy, bubbly brew. Even though this is still acceptable, the traditional recipe retains its allure.

Here’s a look at the ingredients found in root beer, as well as the health benefits associated with them:

Sassafras: This is the most important ingredient in traditional root beer recipes. It is derived from the sassafras tree, which is known for its strong fragrance. The minty flavor of sassafras is imparted to the root beer by this ingredient. In the medical field, it can be used to help purify the blood while also acting as a renal toner.

Dandelion root: It gives the drink a more subtle bitter flavor while also aiding in the improvement of liver health.

Ginger: This flavoring ingredient gives the root beer a strong, fiery kick. Traditionally, it has been used in Chinese herbal medicine to treat stomach upset and nausea, as well as promote metabolic and cardiovascular health.

Liquorice: It imparts a subtle anise sweetness to the brew while also assisting in the treatment of female hormonal imbalances and the maintenance of adrenal health.

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Aside from the missing cherry wood, root beer contains berries, Picea Mariana, Picea rubens, sap, resin, and syrup from Betula trees.

In addition to soapbark, foaming agents can be obtained from the roots of cassava, yucca, or manioc plants.

Mint, star anise, nutmeg, clove, fenugreek, fennel seeds, hops, allspice, cinnamon, and chocolate are some of the other spices that are used in root beer, in addition to ginger.

Caramel color, carbonated water, sugar, natural flavors, artificial flavors, and the preservative sodium benzoate are just a few of the vegan-friendly additives you’ll find in this product.

The traditional method of making root beer is straightforward, but it is extremely exacting. To begin, you must prepare an herbal decoction by slowly simmering the herbs (roots, spices, and barks) in water until the aromatic contents of the herbs are released. Second, add sugar to sweeten the brew, and third, add a starter culture to kickstart the process.

The starter culture is made up of yeast and beneficial bacteria, which are responsible for the fermentation process in the final product. The final step is to bottle the brewed beverage and allow it to mature. As a result of fermentation, the sugar is consumed by the microbes in the starter culture, causing the drink to become fizzy and bubbly.

Please keep in mind that this recipe has changed a little over the years. Various ingredients have been added, as well as some that have been removed. The root beer is processed in an environment where animal products are processed by some companies, such as the Not Your Father’s company.

As a result, even though their root beer ingredients are derived from plants, the final product may contain traces of non-vegan ingredients in the form of flavorings. In order to make it easier for you to determine which root beer brands are vegan, I have listed some of the most popular root beer brands below, along with a note indicating whether or not they are vegan:

  • Root Beer in a Mug (Vegan).
  • Barq’s Root Beer is a vegan beverage.
  • A & W Root Beer is a vegan beverage.
  • Three Olives root beer is a vegan option.
  • This is not your father’s root beer, and it is not vegan-friendly.
  • Uncle X-Hard is a crazy root beer-drinking vegan.
  • Mad Jack Premium is a premium version of Mad Jack. Root Beer with a Twist (vegan)
  • Rhino root beer has gone missing (not vegan-friendly).
  • Joe’s root beer is not suitable for vegan consumption.

Is the caramel color found in the majority of root beers vegetarian or vegan?

When it comes to vegans, the caramel color of root beer is usually a red flag. When used in soft drinks, it is used to achieve a dark color, which is a desired characteristic in most of them. Upon seeing the word “caramel” in the ingredient list, the first thing that comes to mind is caramel candy and the fact that it is not vegetarian.

Because real caramel candy is made from milk products, any reservations about its authenticity are justified. Fortunately, the caramel color in root beer is not derived from real candy or from the use of animal products, making it a completely vegan beverage option. Typically, caramel is made by browning lactose, which is a natural sugar found in milk, and adding it to a hot pan of boiling water. The caramel color in root beer, on the other hand, is created through a browning reaction with other natural sugars, with the exception of lactose.

Heat is applied to simple carbohydrates in the presence of sodium chloride, alkalinity, and acids. Natural sugars used in this process include molasses, sucrose, fructose, malt syrup, starch hydrolysates, invert sugar, and dextrose. No traces of animal products can be found in any of these sugars, making them suitable for vegan consumption.

Please keep in mind that this applies only to the caramel color and not to any other caramel-related products. If you are a strict vegan, it is a good idea to double-check the ingredients before purchasing. Names can be difficult to remember at times, so doing a little research can help a great deal.

Is root beer an alcoholic beverage?

Root beer that has been commercially brewed is non-alcoholic. Moreover, as previously stated, they are artificially colored, made from herbs that are naturally occurring, and force-carbonated in CO2 tanks. You can enjoy brands such as Barq, A & W, Mug, and many others without having to worry about getting drunk.

Actually, root beer is classified as a soft drink, which means that it is not alcoholic in any sense of the word. However, because there is no standard root beer recipe, different companies are experimenting with different ingredients and production methods in order to maintain the distinct sassafras flavor. Root beer is a popular beverage that contains around 10% alcohol. Not Your Father’s root beer is one of them.

If the vast majority of commercial root beers were non-alcoholic, you might wonder why the beverage is referred to as beer. Was it customary to drink alcoholic beverages? Home-brewed root beer, on the other hand, contains only a trace amount of alcohol in its composition. The majority of the home-made root beer recipes you’ll find online state that the finished product will contain approximately 2 percent alcohol by volume. The fermentation process begins when the activated yeast in the concoction of herbs and spices begins to feed on the sugar, which occurs when the yeast is activated.

The process of carbonation begins as the fermentation process progresses slowly. Despite the fact that they are produced in minute quantities, ethanol and CO2 are produced as by-products of this reaction. It is the presence of ethanol that causes symptoms such as hallucinations and intoxication. However, because of the small amount of ethanol produced, its impact on one’s sobriety is minimal to non-existent.

Is root beer a healthy beverage?

This question is primarily directed at those who choose to live a vegan lifestyle because of the health benefits it provides. For starters, one of the most pressing health questions surrounding root beer is whether or not Sassafras is carcinogenic. A laboratory experiment conducted on safrole, a component of Sassafras, revealed that it was carcinogenic to the liver in 1960. However, when used in small amounts, this component appears to have a protective effect on humans, according to the findings of the study.

Following the findings of the study, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) of the United States prohibited the use of sassafras in commercial soft drinks. Is it possible to avoid using sassafras as a flavoring agent in root beer, given that it is one of the most commonly used? After all, the amount of safrole used in the above experiment was substantial—roughly equivalent to a human drinking approximately 32 12-ounce bottles of the brewed beverage in a single day.

The amount of safrole present in homemade root beer, on the other hand, is extremely small and, as a result, completely safe. Second, sassafras was phased out of root beer recipes for commercial purposes and replaced with wintergreen. Aside from that, only the safrole oil contained within the plant has been identified as a potential carcinogen, and methods have been developed to extract it, rendering safrole oil and the plant itself safe for consumption. Finally, but certainly not least, modern root beer contains sarsaparilla vine, which has a flavor similar to sassafras but is completely safe to consume.

It is primarily made from the roots of the Sassafranca tree in the United States and Canada, and it is known as root beer (Sassafras albidum). The beverage known as root beer is traditionally non-alcoholic, caffeine-free, and carbonated, despite its name. The exact origins of root beer are unknown to scholars, but one popular theory holds that it developed as a result of 19th-century pharmacists’ attempts to discover a new medication (1). Although root beer was first produced in the 19th century, beverages made from sassafras roots had been consumed in North America for thousands of years before European explorers arrived.

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Root beer is, for the most part, vegan in its composition. The primary ingredients in most root beer products are roots and herbs, with a few spices added for flavoring and color variation. However, because the recipe for root beer is not standardized, it is still recommended that vegan consumers check the ingredients list to ensure that they are aware of the ingredients that have been used. Flavorings such as honey and other non-vegan ingredients can be used in place of vegan ingredients. Other ingredients are classified as “gray” because there is some uncertainty surrounding their use. Sugar and natural flavors are examples of ingredients that fall into this gray area.

Because the ingredients used to make root beer are primarily derived from roots, herbs, and spices, root beer should be considered vegan in most cases. However, because root beer recipes are not standardized, it is highly recommended that you double-check the ingredients list before drinking. As a result, a variety of ingredients can be used, some of which may be non-vegan depending on the root beer recipe.

Root beer contains honey, which is not vegan because it contains honey, which is a commonly used ingredient. Honey is a delicious sweetener that is frequently used as a sugar substitute because it is considered to be a healthier alternative. Unfortunately, honey does not conform to vegan standards. Vegans avoid honey not only because it comes directly from animals, but also because it has been shown in recent studies to have a negative impact on the overall population of bees around the world.

Sugar and natural flavors are two other ingredients that other vegans are likely to look for when shopping. However, while these are not explicitly non-vegan ingredients, they are considered “gray area” ingredients because some vegans are fine with them while others are not.

Sugar is a gray area ingredient due to the fact that some companies use bone char in their products (charred bones of animals used for sugar refinement). Some sugar companies make use of bone char, while others do not use bone char. However, it is difficult to distinguish between those that do and those that do not, prompting some vegans to avoid sugar in general as a safety precaution.

Vegan consumers are also known to scrutinize the natural flavors of foods. It is a gray area ingredient, similar to sugar, in that it is difficult to determine whether an ingredient is truly vegan or non-vegan. Natural flavors are a type of ingredient that can be made up of a variety of different natural ingredients. However, it is possible to include both animal and plant products in this category. As a result, it is ineffective in informing the vegan consumer whether the product is truly vegan or not.

Root beer is made up of a variety of ingredients.

Root beer does not have a standard recipe, and there is no such thing as a root beer recipe. As a result, many different recipes can be found in a variety of locations. Root beer, on the other hand, is traditionally made from roots, hence the name. Sassafras is a plant whose roots are traditionally used to make root beer. Roots from other plants and trees, on the other hand, have been reported to be used as well. Sarsaparilla, licorice, black cherry, red spruce, black spruce, burdock, dandelion, and a variety of other roots are among those that can be found.

Root beer is made from a variety of ingredients, including roots and herbs. Leaves, berries, saps, and even resin from a variety of plants, including wintergreen, sweet birch, black birch, and others, can be used to make incense.

Despite the fact that roots and herbs are the primary ingredients in root beer, spices are also used to enhance the flavor of the beverage. Spices such as allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, fennel, ginger, anise, hops, mint, star anise, and other herbs and spices can be used, as well as a variety of other ingredients.

To make root beer, the ingredients are essentially steeped in boiling water for a short period of time before being filtered out to produce root beer. Sugar or molasses are traditionally added to the solution after it has been boiled to remove the bitterness of the water. In addition, the beverage is typically carbonated. This is accomplished in an industrial setting by infusing carbon dioxide. This can, however, be accomplished naturally through the use of yeast fermentation.

Though traditionally considered the primary ingredient in root beers, commercially produced root beers typically use a different variety nowadays because sassafras contains an extract called safrole, which has been banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since the 1960s and therefore cannot be used in commercially produced root beers (2). Because studies have discovered that safrole is toxic and carcinogenic, modern root beers are made with sassafras extracts that are free of safrole.


Honey is a sweet food substance made by honeybees and other insects and used as a sweetener. It is commonly used as a sweetener and is considered a healthier alternative to regular table sugar. Some root beer products are sweetened with honey instead of sugar or molasses, which is a healthier alternative.

Due to the fact that honey is obtained directly from animals, it is not vegan, and products that contain honey are also not vegan.

Generally speaking, it is believed that honeybees must visit two million flowers in order to produce one pound of honey, which is a product that they produce to feed the entire colony, particularly their larvae.

Honey, as well as the honey industry, has come under fire from environmentalists, who have joined vegans in their opposition. In the ecological community, honeybees are widely regarded as highly important members of the ecosystem because of their role in pollination. It has been suggested that the decline in honeybee populations, as well as beekeeping in general, is a contributing factor to the overall decline in bee populations (3).

Given the fact that honey production beekeeping involves maintaining large numbers of hives in a single location, the large numbers of honeybees can outcompete the native bee populations in the surrounding area. When native bee populations pollinate native flora in large numbers while honeybee populations do not, this can be a significant problem. This problem is exacerbated when honeybees pollinate invasive plants, which increases their population.


Sugar is a common food additive that can be found in a wide variety of food and beverage products. It is commonly used as a sweetener in traditional recipes. It can, however, be used as a preservative in some cases. Sugar is commonly found in root beer products as a sweetener. Many people would logically conclude that sugar is safe for people who follow a vegan diet. Unfortunately, depending on how sugar is produced, it may or may not be non-vegetarian in nature.

Starting with sugarcane and sugar beets, which are both sugar-rich plant sources, sugar production can be initiated. It takes only a minimal amount of processing to transform sugar extracted from these plant sources into a form suitable for human consumption. Many sugar companies, on the other hand, prefer to subject the sugar to additional refinement processes in order to make the sugar more appealing to mass consumers. To be more specific, these refinement processes make the sugar whiter and finer in appearance.

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Filtration is a process that is used in the refinement of sugar. When the sugar juice is filtered through a sieve, a porous material, or a filter, debris and non-sugar components are removed, increasing the overall purity of the sugar. Filtration, which is a physical process, typically does not add anything to the sugar being processed. The problem with filtration, on the other hand, is the material that is used. Some businesses make use of bone char, which is the charred skeletal remains of various animals (4). However, because bone char is an animal product, even though it is a cheap and effective filter, sugar made from bone char cannot be considered vegan because it is made from animal products.

However, because it is only used in a single process in the sugar refinement industry, the problem with bone char is that this information is not typically included on the product labeling for the material. Vegan consumers may have difficulty distinguishing between sugar products that have been processed with bone char and those that have not. Vegan consumers are forced to contact sugar companies directly as a result of this.

When sugar is used as an ingredient in a food product, it is even more difficult for vegan consumers to determine whether the sugar is vegan or not. In order to meet their demands, large manufacturers may have multiple sources of sugar, making it impossible for vegan consumers to determine whether the sugar they use is vegan or not. As a result, many vegans choose to abstain from sugar as a general precaution.

Animal rights activists in other parts of the world are less concerned about bone char being used in their sugar industries because the practice is more common in the United States.

Composition of the Ingredients

In this section, I’ll go over all of the most common ingredients found in modern-day root beers and explain why they’re used. Root Beer is a vegan beverage. The ingredients in root beer vary from brand to brand, but the following are the most important things to know when trying to determine whether or not root beer is vegan:

Caffeine-Free Carbonated Water It’s all good here; there’s nothing that can go wrong.

Herbs and roots are used in cooking.

This is where the distinct flavor of root beer is derived. As previously stated, sassafras oil flavoring was traditionally used to make this beverage. However, because this has been prohibited by the FDA, manufacturers can only use sassafras that does not contain safrole. Hansen’s Root Beer is currently made with Sassafras that is free of safrole. The majority of other brands use sassafras that has been artificially flavored.


In some root beers, the spices nutmeg, ginger, and allspice can be found in combination with one another. Vegan.

Sweetener (sugar or sweetener substitute)

Cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup are the two most common types of sweeteners found in root beer. The unfortunate fact is that sweeteners are also the primary ingredient that may prevent your favorite root beer from being vegan. This is due to the possibility of using honey to sweeten or replace sugar (which has been processed with bone char). However, even though sugar is not derived from animals, it can be processed in conjunction with bone char during the manufacturing process. Sugar is notoriously difficult for vegans to navigate when it comes to eating. Choose a root beer that has been sweetened with organic, raw, unrefined beet sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup if you are concerned about the amount of sugar in your root beer (or any other drink, for that matter) that you consume. Unfortunately, bone charred sugar continues to be a potential issue for the majority of beverages in the United States.

Flavors derived from nature

On the back of the label, it says “Natural Flavors.” These flavors can come from either animal products or plant sources. Manufacturers are not required to disclose where the natural flavors come from in their products. In the case of natural flavors derived from dairy products, manufacturers are required to label the product with the words “contains milk or dairy” on the label. The most important thing to look out for when it comes to “natural flavors” is the presence of honey.

Artificial flavorings and fragrances

As previously stated, “artificial flavorings” are now being used by the majority of root beer manufacturers to replicate the flavors of sassafras since they were outlawed. All artificial flavorings are created by humans and do not contain any ingredients derived from animals. Some, on the other hand, may be subjected to animal testing when they are first developed to ensure that they meet certain safety standards. Artificial colors, on the other hand, are not routinely tested on animals, as is the case with natural colors.

Critic acid is a type of acid that is toxic to the body.

To give sodas a sharper flavor, this is often added to the mix as a flavoring agent. It is responsible for the tangy flavor of soda. They also have the added benefit of serving as a preservative. It’s free of animal products.

Sodium Benzoate is a chemical compound that is used to treat a variety of ailments.

Sodium Benzoate is the preservative of choice for the vast majority of sodas. This compound, which is considered vegan, is synthesized by reacting benzoic acid with sodium hydroxide and is available commercially. Neither of these ingredients comes from animal sources. Chemically balanced food mixtures benefit from the use of this ingredient because it helps to keep harmful bacteria, yeast, and molds at bay while also maintaining the chemical balance of the beverage.

Coloring with caramel

This is responsible for the brown color of root beer. Despite the fact that it is referred to as “caramel,” it is not the traditional dairy-based caramel that we are all familiar with – it is only the color. Let’s face it, the word “caramel” sounds more appealing than the word “brown.”

Caramel color is created by heating corn or sugar to a high temperature. Fructose, sucrose, molasses, malt syrup, and regular cane sugar are all acceptable sugar substitutes. Obviously, if caramel is made from cane sugar, the whole issue of bone char comes back into play, which could be a problem for vegans who adhere to a strict vegan diet.

In contrast, the vast majority of caramel color in northern America and Europe is derived from corn and is therefore vegan. Although you can never be certain, the likelihood of the caramel color being non-vegan is extremely low. Even though there is a very slim chance, it is safe to assume that caramel color is vegan on the whole.

Yucca Extract or Soybean Protein

In the beverage manufacturing industry, both of these ingredients are used as foaming agents in carbonated beverages. After all, it is referred to as “Root” beer. It is free of animal products.


How I love you, caffeine. It’s that one thing that some of us rely on to get us out of bed in the mornings and to generally get us through the day. It is also what some beverage manufacturers use to help give us all a boost by incorporating it into their root beer. Barq’s Root Beer, a popular root beer brand, now includes caffeine in their product. It is free of animal products.

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