#Bladdergate: Guinness is Made Using Fish Bladders and Stephen Colbert Wants it to Stay that Way

Stephen Colbert is fighting one petition with another after Guinness announced this last week that it will change its 256-year-old recipe so that it will be vegan friendly.

What, you may ask, is not vegan in your Guinness? Fish bladder. That’s right, Guinness uses isinglass – a collagen that comes from dried fish swim bladders – to filter its beer and, although disgusted by it, Colbert wants it to stay that way.

In his typical tongue-in-cheek manner, Colbert declared during his Thursday broadcast of The Late Show that he would not let “vegans walk all over us with their sustainably sourced sandals.”

So he started a petition demanding that Guinness keep the fish bladders, which has already been signed by more than 14,000 people since it was launched four days ago on The Late Show.

Want to make sure that fish bladders are still used to make your Guinness? Show your support here.

That’s nearly 600% more signatures than a petition asking Guinness to use one of the many isinglass alternatives that is being cited  – by Colbert and Fox News, among others – as one of the reasons Guinness decided to go vegan in the first place.

For years, vegans in Ireland complained to the company, wrote letters, and signed petitions like this one (which has nearly 2,000 signatures) asking for beer that they could drink, according to the New York Times. Guinness’ finally decided to embrace these vegan customers by investing in a state-of-the-art filtration system that will make its beer bladder-free by 2016.

Disagree with Colbert and want the fish bladders out of your Guinness? Show your support here.

The fast growth of signatures on Colbert’s petition is not surprising to those that follow the comedian. He is skilled at mobilizing his fans in pursuit of a goal.

Remember the time when he challenged his audience to help him unseat Kanye West and make “A Colbert Christmas” #1 on iTunes, with Operation Humble Kanye? Or what about this summer when he asked his fans to flood the Prime Minister of Norway’s Twitter feed, asking her to pledge more money toward girls’ education?

He achieved both goals, thanks to the extreme popularity and loyalty he engenders from his fans.

It’s too soon to say whether Colbert will be able to mobilize his fans to reach this goal, but Guinness is certainly embracing the attention. It tweeted a mock up of a limited edition version of just what Colbert is petitioning for: Guinness with extra bladder.

It’s smart of Guinness to lean in to the petition. Brands often see a spike in engagement after being praised or, more likely, mocked by Colbert. When he shamelessly plugged Sabra on his first taping of The Late Show, the brand saw 311% more engagement on social media than it had the day prior, according to Ad Age.


Here are some other petitions that might interest you:

Written by
Mallory A. Russell
November 10, 2015 5:57 pm