The news came out this week that Guinness was "going vegan". If you stopped at the headline or abstract, you were probably surprised that Guinness wasn't vegan in the first place. And I suppose it wasn't, if only by means of technicality. The ingredient at issue, if you can call it that, was isinglass. No, isinglass is not any kind of animal that was left off of your See-And-Say toys, but rather an ingredient derived from fish bladders. This ingredient is used towards the end of making the beer, and acts as a clarifying agent. For, in this case, an Irish stout... but we'll leave that one and notions of "clarity" in black-as-night liquids alone. Crucially, the isinglass is filtered out of the finished product... but trace amounts MAY REMAIN! Or ghosts. Fish ghosts are very, very scary. Especially Goldfishgheists. ...Trust me, that joke kills when you say it out loud.
Here's the stupid thing. Or expected thing. Let's go with stupid and expected thing. Anyway, this is marketing spin. I know, I know. It's ok to be shocked. Although Guinness will tell you isinglass is used "throughout the beer industry", it's really an outdated ingredient. By and large, brewers moved to clarifiers that are far less fishy quite a while ago, but Guinness, for whatever reason, just kept on that thar fish bladder train. Now, finally, they're catching up with the times. However, if something as iconic as Guinness were to come out and say that they updating as a cost-cutting, moderizing measure, people would be a lot more up in arms. It just doesn't look quite as good as spinning it as being nice to animals and the people that don't ingest them. This is especially true in a day and age where we celebrate local/organic/non-GMO/whatever regardless of the science or the facts... which are synonyms, by the way, but we're not getting in to that, either.
Now, I'm sure you might have also seen some people rumbling about how this change... this minuscule change... of a clarifying agent used at the end of brewing and then filtered out would "change the taste of Guinness", but don't worry. In fact, I'm going to devote the rest of this paragraph to them: You're dumb.
So there you have it. Everyone is talking about the change at Guinness, and Guinness couldn't be happier about that. I mean, I suppose vegans are, too. You know who's probably still upset, though? Homeopaths. I mean, Guinness is made with water, and that water used to have fish in it. So, through the brewing process and subsequent dilutions, that fish quotient has only gotten more powerful! Just how deep does this rabbit... er, fish hole go, Guinness? This is a clear indicator of yet another conspiracy by Big Sealife. And that's what I think, everyone that asked me. TL;DR it's marketing and people are being predictably silly.