Wines are made from grapes and beer comes from barley, so you shouldn't have to worry about the type of alcohol that you serve to your vegan guests, right? Wrong. It's not what's in the beverages that gives vegans pause; it's how they are made. To make sure no one will have sour grapes, you need to know a little bit about the drinks you plan to serve.
True vegans have to think about the fact that many products brewmasters and winemakers use to make alcohol use animal-derived materials like isinglass (made from fish bladders) and egg whites. These products help filter the grape skins and stems and remove the yeast used in the fermentation process. As you know, these types of ingredients are taboo to vegans. Vegan wine is made without the use of animal-derived products to help the filtration process.
Oftentimes, ingredients used to make alcohol don't show up on the labels you read while shopping at your local grocery store. So it's incumbent upon vegans -- and you as the party host -- to do research prior to purchasing. One easy way is to choose wines and beers recommended on vegan-friendly Web sites. The Vegan Wine Guide Web site has an extensive list, including Asda Californian Zinfadel and Mumm Cuvee Napa Brut. (For beer and liquor, also try the Barnivore Web site). Or you can search for labels known to cater to vegans. For instance, Frey Vineyards notes on its Web site that all its organic wines are vegan-friendly.