This anecdote comes to us from Brooklyn-based, DB Contributer Michael Oman-Reagan:
The other day my boyfriend brought home a bag of Ike & Sam’s Kettlecorn with the hopes it would be a snack we could enjoy together (I’m vegan, he’s not). A quick glance at the ingredients didn’t turn up anything obviously cruelty-inducing; Popcorn, Corn Oil, Sugar, Salt. Of course, I wanted to make sure that it was made with vegan sugar, so I emailed Ike & Sam’s. I included a link to explain how sugar is sometimes produced using bone char. Sam, himself, replied “I didn’t even know people use bones for sugar and I have to tell you I will be looking into this. Thank you for bringing this to my attention, bones just do not sound appetizing to me either.” Yeah, right? Who needs bones in their popcorn…
So, he contacted the supplier, got the refinery information for me and confirmed that it is on a list of refineries that don’t use bone char. And during our email exchange, I also mentioned vegan wine and he asked “Just out of curiosity, how could wine not be vegan?” so I replied with an explanation about clarifying, eggs and fish guts, etc. He was genuinely interested to learn about how sugar, beer and wine might not be vegan.
The whole exchange really made me realize what an impact we can have as consumers when we take time to contact producers and ask questions. In this case I had a chance to teach a food producer something and he was really receptive, even thanking me “for the lesson.” What a good reminder about the power of personal contact and optimism. So, the next time I wonder about a product – I’m going to give them a call. Maybe I’ll learn something and be able to teach them something too.
Michael Oman-Reagan, Brooklyn
If you want to find out more about cruelty-free alcohol, visit Taste Better