Edinburgh's Pilot Beer now has a fully vegan portfolio of drinks

Good news for vegan fans of Pilot Beer.

Published 26th Sep 2021
Updated 8 th Aug 2023

Independent Leith brewery, Pilot have made their beer lactose free – creating a fully vegan friendly portfolio.

Recognising that two of their bestselling beers were not accessible to vegan and lactose intolerant communities, the team at Pilot have recreated their recipes, removing the need for lactose but keeping the flavour their customers know and love.

Pilot Founder, Patrick Jones, said “We decided to make the move to vegan brewing because the amount of lactose being used in beers across the industry, and in turn our own beers, no longer makes sense.

"Once you add lactose you’re excluding an awful lot of people from drinking it, so you really have to question if that’s a valid decision.

"Lactose in milk stouts of course has a long tradition, but the world moves on.”

The challenge that many breweries face in creating styles that traditionally use lactose is replicating the body, sweetness, and creaminess this animal based product brings to a beer.

Patrick added: “There’s no one product you can just sub in to replace all three of these things.

"It was a long process, combining all our brewing knowledge and an awful lot of trial and error, until we came up with solutions that worked.

"It was vital for us that above all we didn’t compromise on the quality of the beer in the glass, and we’re 100 per cent confident with our results there.”

Pilot launched their Drinklusion initiative in 2019 with the aim to support charities both national and local that promote the idea of inclusivity, in all its forms.

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Two pence from every can they sell goes to Drinklusion, which currently sends funds to Bikes For Refugees, Gorgie City Farm, Stay Up Late and the Leith Theatre.

Patrick said: “At Pilot, we believe that beer should bring people together. Making sure our beer is accessible to everyone is an extension of this ethos.

"We’re excited about this change as, in an admittedly tiny way, it’s making the world a better place.

"We’re producing the same great beers but without the addition of animal products, and that has to be a good thing."

Pilot’s vegan friendly beer, including their new lactose free Peach Melba Sour and Mochaccino Stout, is available now from their brewery, web shop, and through a whole host of independent venues and retailers across the UK.

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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