The Gluten-Free Beer Wars: Health vs Profit

gluten free beer wars

Gluten-free Beer vs Gluten-removed Beer
Safe Grains vs Barley
New Planet vs Omission
Health vs Profit

There was a very, very interesting article recently on the current state of gluten-free beer. And more specifically, on Omission beer’s fight with the FDA to be able to label itself “Gluten Free”. You can read the article here.

Here’s a quick recap on Omission Beer. Instead of using gluten-free grains to brew their beer, they use barley, a big celiac no-no, and then remove the gluten using a proprietary technique so it falls below the 20ppm threshold. Their method produces a more traditional tasting beer. But scientists say it leaves tiny gluten fragments behind and that it may not be safe for those with celiac disease. And recent tests done in Canada on other “gluten-removed” beer found gluten in these beers too.

Because Omission is made with gluten, they cannot label it gluten-free in the United States. It also must carry a warning that no tests exist to verify gluten in beer, at least until the FDA rules on the issue. The bureau ruled last May that affixing a “gluten-free” label to a product made with barley, rye, wheat or crossbreeds would be “inherently misleading.”

(Ironically, they can label it gluten-free in Denmark, Canada and within Oregon, where the beer is brewed. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…our labeling laws just suck.)

What is Omission beer’s response to all of this? They say, and I quote, “There’s no denial that we’re going to find pieces of protein [gluten] in the beer. Those don’t go away. But those pieces are small. That’s our view on it.”

When I blogged about Omission Beer in January, it quickly became a hot topic of discussion, generating over 150 comments. The verdict seems that most celiacs who take their health seriously will not risk it. And many of the ones who did came to regret it.

Now Craft Brew Alliance, who brews Omission Beer, is lobbying Congress to push the FDA to allow them to label their beer gluten free. Here’s a blurb from the article which states it quite eloquently:

Craft Brew’s full-court press leaves federal regulators balancing the health of a small number of consumers against the moneymaking interests of a politically connected business. In this case, the health of 3 million people with celiac hang in the balance with the nation’s ninth-largest brewer fighting to maintain $160 million in annual sales in an increasingly competitive beer market.

Now of course, Congress has gotten itself involved. Oh joy. Note dripping sarcasm.

Five congressmen, naturally all from the Northwest where Craft Brew Alliance is located, sent the FDA a letter saying they were being “unnecessarily rigid”.

That’s right folks…keeping celiacs safe is unnecessarily rigid. How dare the FDA worry about our health when there are profits to be made.

Here is what I want: transparency and honesty. I know, when it comes to big business and the government, I’m kidding myself.

The fact is I’ve heard from many of my fellow celiacs who have tried Omission or Daura. Almost all of them say “never again.”

There is enough evidence that these gluten-removed beers pose a risk to those who cannot tolerate gluten. So there is no way in hell they should be able to label themselves gluten-free.

Here is what I say to these brewers: If you want to make a gluten-free beer, then make a damn GLUTEN FREE beer. Rise to the challenge. Be creative. Don’t try to change the laws at my community’s expense so you can make more money.

Other companies are managing to make truly gluten-free beers that taste just fine. There is a microbrewery called Harvester Brewing that makes the most amazing gluten-free beer. They make an IPA, a pale, a dark and an experimental ale. And they make their beers in a dedicated gluten-free facility, more than I can say for the folks at Omission.

While Omission beer is willing to accept that their beer is making some celiacs sick, James Neumeister, the owner of Harvester Brewing, says that if he heard that gluten-intolerant drinkers were having unpleasant reactions to his beer, “I’d have to be committed. I’d be a nervous wreck.”

How about that? A company with a conscience.

That’s who I want making my beer.

What about you?

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90 thoughts on “The Gluten-Free Beer Wars: Health vs Profit”

      1. The label says Gluten Free, at least it used to. Once you see that, and the fact that they completely market it as gluten free, it’s easy to make the mistake.

        1. Sorry. Every time I buy something I read the entire label. It’s obnoxious but according to the international standard, their product is marketed correctly and accurately.

  1. So glad you’re addressing this topic – and giving a shout-out to Harvester Brewery, which does a really great job with their beers. My husband and I visited them last fall when we were in Portland and we spent an hour talking to James and trying out different beers – FYI, if anyone is ever in the area they’re open to the public on Thursday afternoons, so you can go over and buy beer directly from them, get a tour and try out new flavors. They’ve got a really good product. Needless to say, we brought two boxes back with us. There’s also a ton of bars and restaurants around Portland that carry Harvester beer – Portland is a really great town in general for gluten free people – one of my favorite cities to visit.

    I have not tried Omission beer, but I have tried Daura, which undergoes a similar ‘de-glutinizing’ process. I ordered it at a bar where it was labeled ‘gluten free,’ so I did not realize that it still had gluten in it until after I drank it, got sick, and was trying to figure out why. Duh! Anecdotally, there’s a lot of people at that seem to have reactions to these beers, too. NOT safe and should NOT be able to call themselves gluten free!

  2. I don’t think it’s very fair to label those coeliacs who can tolerate these products as ‘not serious about their health’. There are numerous gluten free productsm including prescription products, here in the UK with gluten removed (including things like beer, gluten free wheat starch and vinegar) which are produced under strict controls and testing to ensure they are below the gluten threshold that is scientifically proven to be safe for coeliacs. That’s not to say that some coeliacs will not react to them, but every coeliac can be serious about their health and choose for themselves based on the information about ingredients and their own health condition. Some choose to avoid barley-derivatives (either from worry or due to symptoms), others don’t need to or feel they need to – that doesn’t mean they take their health more or less seriously.

    Anyhow, it’s not going to be much of a money making interest for that company if they make people ill!

    I find it somewhat ironic that we are talking about taking health seriously in the context of a blog about alcoholic drinks!

    1. Hi Carly. I like your last line 😉

      Here’s my take: If 50% of celiacs feel sick after drinking Omission or Daura and 50% don’t, it’s still very possible that many of the 50% who don’t feel sick are still doing damage to the their bodies, just without the symptoms.

      1. Would like to see the scientific rather than anecdotal proof on that 50%! Until then, I only have my body to listen to and I’m personally ok on the Daura 😉 (have had antibody and endoscopy checks to assess healing – all good!)

        1. If there is one thing I have learned in the past year, is that everybody is different. I drink and enjoy Omission. No symptoms, no pain. I have also been back for follow up blood work and follow up endoscopy. Was told my blood work was better and Doctor said he saw a lot of healing in my gut. So until he tells me otherwise Im gonna keep doing what I am doing. But what is ok for me may not be for somebody else. And everybody has to do whats best for them no matter what a label says. And discussing alcohol is critical to my mental well being!!!! lol

          1. I totally get what you’re saying, but here’s the thing. Don’t you care about your fellow celiacs? If enough of them are getting sick from these beers, isn’t it better to try to make a change rather than saying “it doesn’t hurt me…so be it.”

            And I say that with respect, not scorn. Honestly.

            1. “Don’t you care about your fellow celiacs?”

              Yup. And if they are drinking something that says it has barley in it, then they’re knowingly taking a chance. Daura kills me, but Omission I have zero problems with. Your suggestion that consuming something that I have determined is ok for me is somehow harming other people is absurd.

              1. If you are a celiac and don’t read EVERYTHING on a label, with a skeptical eye, you’re a fool. There is no company out there with your best interests in mind, neither is there a politician of that ilk. YOU are your only ally in the supermarket, and you need to take responsibility for your own well being. That’s what a gluten free diet is all about anyway!

              2. They clearly state that their product was made with gluten, and that it was removed to comply with an international standard of 20ppm or less. Unless your reading comprehension is severely lacking, this should be screaming “THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS GLUTEN” in your face. If you ignore that, and get gluten’ed, and get mad, then you should be mad at yourself for failing 8th grade english, not a company for clearly labelling their product as having been made with gluten. Yes it also says Gluten Free, but because we’re focusing on stupid crap like this instead of getting our labelling laws up to some kind of acceptable standard, there is enough confusion to expect this kind of thing.

              Priorities, mate. Beer that is trying to appeal to our market is not the problem, the BS labelling practices are.

            2. Lars,
              I completely agree with you. I am a “mild” celiac. I love omission, can’t drink it all the time, but absolutely love it. I have known from day one that it was gluten removed. and in essence as Daura states as well on the bottle.. it has so many ppm of gluten in it. I don’t understand how people can’t be responsible for themselves. I am all for labeling and stating what is in an item and what the nutrition is etc. but at the same time.. why do businesses have to cater to every groups needs, rather than people having a bit of self preservation instinct and reading the label. I heard a story from a friend that worked at a mexican restaurant. person called and said my wife is celiac and had a burrito last nite and is sick as a dog. the menu stated that they could help you with gluten free items, not that everything was gluten free… What was she thinking? In any case, people… stop thinking a fence should be on every cliff!

            3. Hey Matt…I appreciate the comment. I agree that we need to be our own best advocates. My main issue is that they specifically market it to celiacs when it has not been absolutely proven to be safe.

          2. Brian, how did you find a doctor that could see that there was healing in your gut? How should I find a doctor for myself?


  3. Ah, Portland… time for a pilgrimage. Though I tend toward Deschutes, I will have to try Harvester next time I am there.

    But to the issue at hand… this feels like playing Russian Roulette with my intestines and my brain – except with only one empty chamber instead of one loaded one. This is why we need the great hive-mind of the online celiac community to keep us all informed: it’s impossible for us to keep every sleight-of-hand straight by ourselves.

    While I keep in mind that celiac is not an allergy (and run the risk of irritating so many of my fellow contributors here), I do think that food allergy is a good parallel here. Would anyone ever produce a product made with peanuts with the offending allergenic compound removed (were we to isolate it) and then try and sell it to the peanut-allergic? **** no! So why is celiac handled so differently? I’ve come to the conclusion it’s because of the “autoimmune” bias. Because many autoimmune disorders are not well understood, they’re assumed to be figments of the imagination – and that includes in the medical community. To them I say: Go ahead. Give me gluten. And then watch me degenerate into a raving psychotic ass and clean up my mess.

    On the bright side, I finished my radiation treatments for breast cancer today – the end of active treatment. Gluten-free celebration coming up!

    1. As someone on my Facebook page just posted:

      “I never saw a product that said milk or peanut removed. Just saying.”

      And that’s it in a nutshell (no pun intended).

      Yay on the end of the radiation treatment!!!

  4. I have to say that the more I follow the gluten-free legislation process, the more I’m shocked and disappointed. What will it take… a class-action lawsuit against these companies until they realize that this kind of stuff isn’t any joke? And not for nothing, but this is just as much an issue for non-celiac gluten sensitive folks as it is for celiac.

    Overall, this is just one horrible example of how the expanding gluten-free marketplace is choosing dollar over real concern for those affected. I’m totally fine with people making a living, but do it honestly.

    1. Thanks Jennifer.

      A note to all: As I’ve said in the past…when I say “celiacs” on this site, I include all people who have gluten-related health issues, not just those diagnosed with the disease. It’s just too much to type every single time 🙂

    2. I agree with you all. they all should be taken to court for this. Having an autoimmune system disease isn’t anything to take lightly and they think it’s a Fad. I don’t wish anyone ill but they should go through what we all have to go through for a month so that they see this isn’t a joke and can’t and shouldn’t take advantage of us. Just to make a Buck.

      1. Nobody is playing Russian roulette but you. They’re complying with our terrible laws, and you are consuming a product that says it has 20ppm or less of gluten in it. It sucks, yes, but you’re the one buying the product knowing that it contains *Some* gluten, and hoping an after-brewing process will keep you from feeling sick.

        If you didn’t read the entire label, knowing that 1-4 days of diarrhea, migraines, mood swings, and dermatitis are in store for you, trusted a faceless corporation with nobody’s interests in mind but it’s own, and somehow missed the part where it says there’s 20ppm or less in it, then I’m guessing you probably should have learned something about taking risks with your health.

        If you REALLY wanted to avoid getting sick all the time, you’d grow all your own food. Since most of us won’t accept that as an option, it’s our responsibility to police what goes into us, and Omission and Daura aren’t deceiving anyone that doesn’t want to be deceived.

        Focus this effort on legislators, not companies complying with awful labeling laws.

        1. Lars…I completely agree with your above point that the food companies and politicians don’t give a shit about our health. Sad but true. That’s what we’re trying to change here.

          Until then…yes we must be our own best advocate.

          But I disagree that Omission and Daura don’t try to deceive us. They market their product, putting it along side Glutino gluten free pretzels, etc. It’s BS. They are selling it as gluten free, when it may or may not be.

        2. Lars, I can’t agree with the statement that companies who employ deceptive marketing tactics “aren’t deceiving anyone that doesn’t want to be deceived.”

          Ultimate responsibility does fall on the consumer but what about the newly diagnosed Celiac? Or the one with limited resources? How about those who have been consistently fed misinformation?

          Sure the jaded, war-weary veteran knows to examine and doubt every bite of food AND information that is ingested. Our agility in maneuvering the ‘glutenous’ minefield does not mean companies should develop new ways to booby trap their products.

          I don’t put a lot of faith in legislation, either. I just keep believing, even in a capitalist society, that moral integrity will overpower greed.

          “Yes, Virginia, there are truly gluten free beverages. They exist as certainly as New Planet and Harvester and Leprechaun exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no gluten free beverages. It would be as dreary as if there was no distillation** process.

          (**whatever that means)

          1. I see someone’s gluten head has cleared because that was pretty dang eloquent. Like button!!

            (loving the Yes, Virginia favorite Christmas message…for many reasons. 😉 )

            1. The only thing I can say is that trusting capitalism to be benevolent and forthright is how we lost 50% of our wetlands, 50% of our topsoil, hundreds of native species, created male frogs that can grow eggs in their testes, and how multiple lakes and rivers gained a reputation for catching on fire.

            2. Freeky, my sweet,
              Methinks we’ll have this discussion more than once in our “battle- worn jaded veteran lives” 🙂

              Hope you’ve recovered from your glutening. Had one myself last week
              and no one was more surprised than I was at how violently Ill I became
              for 48 hours. The place I had lunch has been safe for me before.,,, sigh…
              Suited up in the game face armor and attended a wedding anyway.
              Thank goodness for makeup, pepto bismal, and a steel-belted iron will.
              We push on! xx

  5. I like this:
    “James Neumeister, the owner of Harvester Brewing, says that if he heard that gluten-intolerant drinkers were having unpleasant reactions to his beer, “I’d have to be committed. I’d be a nervous wreck.”

    Loving the James.!!

    I do not drink much beer, but if I did, I’d steer clear of the “gluten removed” beers. To each his/her own. Not going to argue the merits of “well, I do not feel anything, so it must be okay” .

    Cumulative damage from small doses –that concerns me more.
    That’s just my opinion, FWIW

    Here’s my take on it: Drink more gin. 🙂

            1. Distillation is *far* more effective, as particulate cannot rise as vapor with liquid. For the record I do not enjoy or support the fact that omission and similar products are labelled gluten free when
              they definitely aren’t, but they are not breaking the law by doing so. Going after them for obeying the law is pointless. Vote with your wallet, tell people who apparently can’t be bothered to read the entire label(where it also says its owned by Widmer, btw), and annoy your legislators.

          1. I’ve heard that some liquors/distilleries add mash back to the distilled liquor for flavor…. I want it but my new found health matters more :/ We should have those processes be transparent and studied as well.

            1. oh, that’s okay!
              and I just reassuring you that I know what the word means! 😉

  6. I’d like to raise an additional red flag.

    A week ago I drank an entire Estrella Damm. It was the lager not the DAURA. Stupid, I know, but I thought it was their ‘gluten free’ beer. My body has been eating itself up from the inside out since then and I’ve been beating myself up over my uneducated decision for good measure.

    This Saturday, Celiac Awareness Tour posted a photo of the same beer I drank and said Estrella Damm would be at their Houston event serving the world’s best gluten free’ beer! It’s posted on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve told them on both networks that the beer pictured is NOT even Estrella’s gluten reduced beer and it’s still posted!!! Part of the reason I drank the beer is because I recalled seeing the label and recognized it as what I thought was a gluten free beer.

    The fact that I gleefully glutened myself is all on me; but the choice was fueled by misinformation. I blogged about it in hopes of stopping others from making the same mistake I did.

    The fact that someone else made the same mistake I did in a week is telling. My mistake mostly impacted me. Celiac Awareness Tour promoting the (wrong) beer could impact many!! The information and promotion on all Estrella beers is confusing!

    If you’re going for less gluten, Estrella Damm DAURA is gluten reduced to 6 ppm. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve been known to enjoy more than three beers in a single day. 🙂 That would bump my gluten consumption up to the imaginary 20 ppm threshold.

    That’s the problem with allowing any product to be labeled ‘gluten free’ that contains even a trace of gluten. 6 ppm here, 15 ppm there is doing damage–even if there are no outward symptoms.

    1. I saw your recent blog and I felt so bad you got hit like that, Kim.
      How could you know?—the labeling and advertising is misleading.
      Hope you feel better ASAP, honey.

      1. “That would bump my gluten consumption up to the imaginary 20 ppm threshold” <- no it wouldn't, it would make it 18 parts in 3 million. Threshold is based on scientific studies.

        Although, I am surprised they are saying 6ppm – my understanding was that 20ppm was all they could test for – that's why it's considered gluten free in europe as it's impossible to establish gluten content below that?

        1. Well, true on the math! Lucky I was even able to answer the equation to post. Brain fog+gluten enduced lack of air + jury duty=fuzzy calculations.

          But, yes, I did read 6 ppm somewhere this week as I was researching Estrella products.

          1. jury duty?
            girlfriend, you should be dismissed due to “impaired cognitive issues”.
            If anyone finds out you had gluten head during the trial, the defense could claim a mistrial. 🙂

        2. They have tests down to 5ppm now. A major argument I have seen against reducing is unfair burden to the companies to provide cheap enough gluten free products. ?!? *&%$

  7. I would never drink a beer or eat a product derived from gluten ingredients. I actually am happy the TTB enforces labeling on beverages and hope that Craft Brew Alliance does not sway the TTB to change their labeling rules in their favor. Hopefully the FDA will follow suit and actually set some standards on gluten-free labeling of food which is way overdue.

    For those interested in the TTB labeling:

    As for Harvester beers, I would NEVER drink those beers either since they are made from oats, albeit GF oats. Me and oats are not friends.

    1. Ah… the oat question. I can eat some oats – but not large portions of them. I wonder what a bottle of beer would be equal to… I’m allowed 1/2 cup of oats four times a week at the most – and never two days in a row.

      1. “I’m allowed 1/2 cup of oats four times a week at the most – and never two days in a row.”

        This confuses me. If you cannot consume oats two days in a row, why are you eating them at all? Do you have a reaction?

        1. It’s unclear if I do or not. Because an endoscopy for me is a problematic procedure (mine have to be done under general anesthesia, not conscious sedation) my diagnosis is based on my antibody levels. Eating oats slightly elevates the antibody levels, but not to a level that has my GE saying “no oats for you” nor to a level that is outside the range of error for the test. So to keep possible irritation minimized I’m oat-restricted but not oat-eliminated. I’ve never felt sick eating oats, but my GE also doesn’t want to run the risk of getting me so I could never eat oats because I do occasionally need the extra fiber… Good question, though.

  8. Dude-

    Why don’t we lobby congress ourselves and start a petition? We have the numbers and definately the voices. We need to protect people from the possibility of falsely thinking that this beer is safe. It’s not. They already have stated that it does contain traces of protein. That’s all ya need to know. Red light y’all.

    Cheers (without an omission in hand)-

    Jersey Girl

    1. Here’s another idea: deliberately targeting a particular retailer whose labeling is problematic and organizing for a specific change.

      The target I have in mind? Trader Joe’s.

      TJ’s has recently started labelling foods Gluten Free. But… here’s the rub! They’re *not*. What GF means is “no ingredients containing naturally occurring gluten.” This says nothing about cross contamination and many of the foods they sell labeled GF are actually made on shared equipment (which is labeled). I’ve begged my local TJ’s in Ann Arbor to stop labeling the shelves because it’s unsafe for celiac people. But I was told “take it to Monrovia” (i.e. TJ’s national headquarters).

      1. Interesting – I wonder if it’s a store-by-store thing. Our local place (Sarasota, FL) always uses the ‘no gluten ingredients used’ labels and signs, and I’ve found TJ to better than many companies about having cross-contamination issues listed on the package (‘made in a facility with’ vs ‘made on shared equipment’).

        I’m fine with these kinds of labels (I lump them all into a ‘low-gluten’ category – fine for people on cleanses and the like, but immediately suspect for me). But I just want the ‘gluten-free’ label to mean what it’s legally required to mean. (And for those laws to not get diluted because of corporate lobbying!)

  9. “There’s no denial that we’re going to find pieces of protein [gluten] in the beer. Those don’t go away. But those pieces are small. That’s our view on it.”

    Are you frickin kidding me?! What is with people thinking that “small or very little” is somehow safe? Appalled!

  10. I stopped in randomly at Harvester while visiting Portland last month. I did not arrive during visiting hours, but they still invited me in, gave me a tour and were the nicest people in the world. This is a truly remarkable brewery with excellent people from the owners to the bottlers to the family members helping out with landscaping in front of the brewery.

    The Omission website has always been very open in regards to how they prepare their beer. The website is especially informative. I think their hearts were in the right place initially, but with the push back from the Celiac community, brewing a legitimate gluten-free beer is the answer now.

    1. I agree about the folks from Omission PK. I actually did not know they were owned by a much larger brewery until recently. I’d just like to see them try to make a truly “gluten-free” beer.

  11. I live in Canada and until recently the PPM threshold for anything to be allowed to be labelled Gluten Free was 10. In order for more products to be available (and I am sure because of pressure from a lot of lobbyists) the government raised that to 20 PPM.
    What did this do?
    Apparently this allowed gluten removed beer to be marketed to Celiacs. It allowed big box stores to bring more US based products to Canada and forced my “safe zone” Gluten Free store to close.
    I haven’t seen a noticeable increase of products on the shelves, I have noticed a price increase for the same products.
    Alcohol labels are misleading even at the best of times. A newly diagnosed Celiac mourning the loss of their beloved Bud would surely see “gluten free” on a label and just drink their sorrows away.
    I found out that the same drink in Canada and the US can be completely different. Mike’s Hard Lemonade is my “beer”. I can happily have my vodka based beverage while on Canadian soil, but were I to purchase the SAME label in the US, I would be drinking a flavored MALT beverage.
    Government does not need to determine what constitutes gluten free – it needs to lay down HONEST labelling laws for everyone. It needs to consult with actual experts – NOT celebrity experts. Make them PROVE this gluten removed process works – give them a loaf of whole wheat.

    1. You’re absolutely right on that, Shawna… I noticed the same thing when I was in Ottawa last summer – things I couldn’t drink in the States I can drink in the Great North. But I also noticed having to be a lot more careful in other domains…

  12. We personally do not drink, but this is a great example of the issues we face trying to find gluten free options for our family. Hopefully congress won’t be bribed into allowing the gluten free label to be soiled by this. Personally, I am willing to spend more for a product if it has a gluten free label just to ensure that my husband and daughter don’t get sick!

  13. i don’t get it. would this company use peanuts in a product, say the peanuts have been removed (except a few pieces) then give the product to a peanut-allergic kid? and worse, try to get the government to assure the kid and his family that the product is peanut-free?

    i am so, so, so tired of this crap.

    a local restaurant has a “gluten-friendly” menu. i said to them, you realize that’s not a THING, right? “gluten-friendly” is a misleading, BS term. your food either has gluten or it doesn’t. the entree i wanted? they had to admit it wasn’t gluten-free. i told them they had no business putting that item on a menu even meant to IMPLY gluten-free.

    i suggested that mislabeling food like that was opening them up for a lawsuit. and seriously, does it have to come to that? do we as celiacs and gluten-intolerants have to start threatening lawsuits so we aren’t lied to and given food that makes us sick?

    let me know where the class-action is at. i don’t give a damn about money – i want safe food i can trust.

  14. As someone closely following the GMO wars, I have to say you’re facing an uphill battle. Money always trumps health I’m afraid.

    1. oh you’ve got that right, sister
      In the medical/big pharma world too. Celiac is treated with diet, not drugs but the US medical community seems more interested in symptom- treating than diagnosing the disease.

      If people are healthy, there are empty waiting rooms and no $$$ to be made. .
      During 2007-2010 according to the CDC… Percent of visits involving drug therapy: 75.1%

      Sorry, but your insightful comment just got my dander up thinking about where the priorities seem lie:


  15. Could some of the confusion about this be related to the difference between an allergy and an immune response? Allergens like peanuts have many components to cause a histamine reaction, whereas it’s only the proteins in gluten that trigger the autoimmune response.

    Would one of the omission types of beer cause a reaction to someone with an allergy?

  16. Let them compete for the fad dieters’ money, but they’d better be honest in their labeling. If celiacs are getting sick, let’s see them label it “not safe for those who have a need to be 100% gluten free (like for health reasons). I know I won’t buy it knowing this. Thanks GD for keep us informed as always!

  17. My issue with Omission is their marketing tactics. They display themselves with gluten free foods like Glutino and Udi’s in their ads. They are not allowed to call themselves gluten free so they mislead with statements like “Some delicious tacos made with Rudi’s gluten-free tortillas. Pairs well with an Omission Pale Ale.” or “Glutino’s Gluten Free pretzels and Omission Lager were meant for each other.” The one that incensed me the most was a photo of their beer with the caption “Make sure to celebrate celiac awareness month the right way.” I blogged about this myself a few weeks ago here.
    Also places like Total Wine are labeling Gluten Removed beers namely Estrella Damm Daura as Gluten Free and no one is doing anything about it.
    I dislike writing posts like these. Someone has to do something to change this so all celiacs can be safe and healthy.

  18. I live in Canada and I’m surprised that Omission could be labelled GF here (I’ve never seen it in stores because the government liquor monopoly in Ontario doesn’t sell it). But the laws are complicated:

    Health Canada’s Position on Gluten-Free Claims, issued June 2012:
    “Based on the available scientific evidence, Health Canada considers that gluten-free foods, prepared under good manufacturing practices, which contain levels of gluten not exceeding 20 ppm as a result of cross-contamination, meet the health and safety intent of B.24.018 when a gluten-free claim is made.”

    Food and Drug Regulations (effective August 4, 2012):

    [Section B.24.018]: “It is prohibited to label, package, sell or advertise a food in a manner likely to create an impression that it is a gluten-free food if the food contains any gluten protein or modified gluten protein, including any gluten protein fraction, referred to in the definition “gluten” in subsection B.01.010.1(1).”

    [Subsection B.01.010.1(1)]: ” “gluten” means
    (a) any gluten protein from the grain of any of the following cereals or from the grain of a hybridized strain that is created from at least one of the following cereals:
    (i) barley,
    (ii) oats,
    (iii) rye,
    (iv) triticale,
    (v) wheat; or

    (b) any modified gluten protein, including any gluten protein fraction, that is derived from the grain of any of the cereals referred to in paragraph (a) or from the grain of a hybridized strain referred to in that paragraph. (gluten)”

    “Beer products whose components respect the standards of composition for beer in the Food and Drug Regulations are considered “standardized”. Such “standardized” beers are not required to carry an ingredient list. Standardized beer is always made from barley and or wheat, and is therefore not suitable for individuals with celiac disease to consume. Beer can also contain other allergens or sulphites depending on the individual product.”

    The beer industry made such a fuss about the labelling laws and were holding up the approval so the Government finally made this exemption.

    The Canadian Celiac Association has recommended that we not drink beer from barley.

  19. I have to say this is a little over critical of a company trying to produce a product for people that have a hard time getting a really good beer. I am very sensitive to gluten, in fact I have seasonal allergies for the first time in 3 years because I was glutened with french fries at a restaurant 17 days ago, but this beer does not affect me, and it is very good. This reminds me of Domino’s getting blasted by celiacs for creating gf pizza but then having a disclaimer about it. It is/was the same disclaimer as every other restaurant uses, they were just more forthright with it. Fact is, sometimes it is trial and error, and for people with celiac, there are so many other cross-reactive issues, it would be virtually impossible to keep everyone safe no matter what the label says and no matter what the ingredients. I say celebrate if 50% of us wonderful beer to drink, the other 50%, have some Tito’s vodka, it mixes great with kombucha:)

    1. Thanks for the comment Jason. The difference here is that Omission is actually made with gluten and then removed, though the science behind the removal process is unproven at best. And again, just because somebody does not feel the symptoms does not mean there is not damage going on inside.

      As mentioned, there are other breweries starting to come out with some nice completely gluten free beer. If they can do, so can Omission. Otherwise, they should not market it to the gluten free community.

      My two cents…and what the heck is kombucha??

  20. Luke van Belkom

    Gluten free should be just that. Either brew with Gluten Free Malted grains or don’t bother at all. It’s as stupid as making sugar free sugar or fat free fat. It either is or isn’t.

    1. I agree! The word ‘free’ is traditionally used when one thing is completely devoid of another, particle physics aside.

      It is wrong for our labeling standards to allow “gluten free” to be used when there is ‘just a tiny bit’. Labeling standards in the US are arbitrary and inadequate. Although marketing an item as ‘gluten-free’ as measured by questionable standards isn’t breaking any specific law yet, it is irresponsible and misleading.

  21. Don’t have an intolerance so I think the gluten removed beers are genius. Some of the belgian ones as well as the one from Two brothers I have given to people with allergies and they didn’t experience any negative effects. Sorghum tastes like shit, and no one, not even Harvester who’s beers are great has conquered it.

    1. I’m sorry, but it’s not genius. They just choose to use an enzyme that’s traditionally been used to prevent chill-haze in beer and was discovered (not by Omission) to metabolize most of the gluten, but not all of it.

  22. From Merriam-Webster…

    Definition of OMISSION
    a : something neglected or left undone
    b : apathy toward or neglect of duty

    Maybe they should call it “Abstraction”?

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

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I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

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