The Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Alcohol

what alcohol is gluten free?

Here’s the latest news. This article is about booze. If it’s not what you choose, for you this may be a snooze. But if you like your brews during the holiday woo-hoos, you may be confused as to what booze you can infuse and which ones you must refuse. No need to get the blues. Stick with me…you’ve got nothing to lose.

Ok…that was exhausting to write.

If you are at a celiac support group or have an online following, I have a great way to cause some controversy. Simply say “[insert any liquor here] is gluten-free.” You will certainly get your share of opinions; some of them spot on, some of them fear-based and some of them just totally bizarre.

I will try to set you as straight as humanly possible. But alcohol is one of those issues where I always say LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. And yes…there are still some question marks regarding specific alcohol, because isn’t there always?!

Ok…ready for some fun. Here we go.


Beer is split into two camps: Gluten-free and Gluten-removed. This is pretty simple. Well, let me rephrase that. This “should” be pretty simple, but alas it’s actually very complicated.

Gluten-free beer is just that. Totally gluten-free and completely safe.

Gluten-removed beer is actually made with gluten, but then, so they say, the gluten is removed using a proprietary process, making it fall below 20ppm. I don’t drink these and I never will. Naturally, they market themselves as gluten-free, even though technically they’re not allowed.

You want even more confusion? The CSA, a top celiac organization, gave their seal of approval to Omission, a gluten-removed beer, even though their seal implicitly states that “our Seal Program does not allow the use of oats or ingredients that are derived from gluten-containing grains that have been refined in such a way to remove the gluten.”

How’s that for a contradiction?

And let’s add one more layer of confusion into the mix. Some standard beers actually say they are safe for celiacs, falling under the 20ppm. These are not gluten-removed beers but beers actually containing gluten. Yeah…crazy I know.

Here is what one major brewer, Heineken, says on their website’s FAQ page for the question “Does your beer contain gluten?

“Beer contains gluten, which comes from the grain used to brew it. Only a fraction of the gluten in the grain gets into the beer – the exact amount depends on the kind of grain used. Brewing beer with barley leaves only traces of gluten in the beer, while wheat contributes considerably more. The brewing process can also affect gluten content. Generally speaking, the clearer and blonder the beer is, the less gluten it contains. Some people are allergic to gluten and have to follow a diet that minimizes or excludes their gluten intake. Whether beer can be part of such a diet or not depends on the extent of the allergy and the type of beer consumed. In many cases, lager beers pose no problem for people who have a gluten allergy. However, it is up to individuals to assess their own sensitivity.”

I think I speak for the gluten-free community when I say…HUH?.

Oh…and though I’m not a cider kind of guy, there are lots of gluten-free ciders on the market too.

My personal favorites: Glutenberg (especially the IPA), Ghostfish, Groundbreaker

Phew…moving on.


As long as they are non-flavored, they are safe. Yes, I know some of them are made with wheat. But the distillation process removes all gluten, leaving them with a whole lot of goodness behind. And if you want to be extra careful with the vodka, there are plenty made from corn, grape or potato.

Yes…I know there are still many celiacs who swear these items are not gluten-free. But science says otherwise. And so does The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. They say that “in pure spirits, the distillation process makes these beverages safe because the protein is removed. However, flavored spirits may contain malt, and should be avoided.”

And by the way, if you’re wondering why removing the gluten from liquor is ok but removing it from beer is not, that’s a valid question. And here’s a valid answer: It’s a totally different process. Science proves that the distillation process of hard liquor removes all gluten. The process that gluten-removed beer uses is not distillation at all. They use enzymes, etc. It’s proprietary and unproven.

My personal favorites:

  • Vodka: Titos
  • Gin: Hendricks, Bombay Sapphire East
  • Rum: Not a big fan. I used to drink Capt. Morgans back in the day. And try some dark rum with ginger beer for a nice Dark and Stormy (or if it puts you in the mood…a Dark and Horny.)
  • Tequila: Espolon Reposado (best tequila for the money hands down), Casamigos, Don Julio, Cabo Wabo. If making margaritas, just stick with good old Cuervo Gold


My dad would enjoy one scotch (or two or three) every night after work. This eventually led to his downfall and way-too-early death. Perhaps sub-consciously that’s why I don’t drink it. Or maybe it’s just because I hate the taste.

Anyway, my research says these are all gluten-free. But I have heard many, many varying viewpoints from my fellow celiacs about these items. Here’s a sampling of responses I received after posting that whiskey’s, etc. are gluten-free:

You are spreading mis-information! Some whiskeys, bourbons and scotchs are aged in barrels coated in wheat paste. Very sensitive celiacs can react!

Dude, sorry but you are misinformed. You are correct about the science of distillation removing gluten, but I’ve never met a distiller that doesn’t add the mash back into their final product. They all do it but most will tell you they don’t.

Wait – I read from multiple sources that whiskey, scotch and bourbon aren’t gluten free!

I hate to tell you, Gluten Dude, but i am celiac and i cannot drink those liquors.

I’ll tell you…being a celiac can be exhausting. Here is what I say to the people above: Perhaps you are sensitive to something else in these liquors and it has nothing to do with gluten. Perhaps not. I reached out to a few popular distillers and heard nothing by crickets in response. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. LISTEN TO YOUR BODIES.


Wine is gluten-free. And you can ignore the rumors about the barrels being sealed with wheat paste. Wine is fine. Especially when you dine. Just don’t take mine. And don’t drink nine. Ok, that’s my last line.

My personal favorites: Red, White 😉

So there you have it.

Oh wait…one more item. Since my celiac diagnosis, my tolerance level has seem to gone done some. If you are going to imbibe, be careful and drink lots of water during the course of the evening.

Stay thirsty my friends.

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81 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Alcohol”

  1. I live above two (soon to be three!) restaurants that are VERY Celiac aware. One of them is a spot that has 500 beers (50 on tap,)-but the gluten free beer section was lacking. I mentioned Glutenberg IPA to the owner…he had it two days later for me 🙂

    And Ciders!! You can’t forget ciders! I’m currently obsessed with Downeast–also available in my downstairs restaurant.

  2. Very interesting read! I find that I now react to whiskey, strange right? I firmly believe that the distillation process removes gluten from hard liquors yet whiskey really does get to me! I discovered this one night out at a bar with my brother…I drank cider all night and woke up and felt completely glutened….it was then he informed me that he had been dropping fireball whiskey shots in my cider all night!

    1. Natalie H., I have the same problem. I really question the statement that “distillation removes all gluten.” If distillation removed everything but alcohol, why would we bother to choose different spirits? Rum, whiskey, and vodka would all taste the same. The differing flavors come from fermenting different grains and starches. I think if there’s enough wheat, barley, or rye for the tongue to taste there might be enough for the guts to detect. I know the experts all say that anything under 20ppm is the same as zero but I just don’t buy it.

      1. Distillation uses heat to separate liquids by boiling point. Alcohol has a lower boiling point than water so when you heat a mixture of alcohol and water the alcohol will become gas first while the water stays a liquid. Fermented grains are a mixture of water, sugar, proteins, aromatic compounds, yeast and alcohol. Proteins are big/heavy and physically can’t travel with the alcohol. Some of the aromatic compounds, being small and able to be dissolved in ethanol, travel together to the condenser and add lovely flavors and aromas. These compounds can be taken out by fine tuning temperatures and further distillation as is done for most good vodkas. As for whiskeys, scotch, rum, tequila, and gin those liquors usually go through a flavoring and or aging process where the spirit picks up even more flavors.
        Of course, not all of the water is removed during distillation but all the yeast, proteins and plant matter are. They’re simply too big to be converted to steam.

      2. Distillation is a complicated process, with many variables. A solution that contains volatile liquids is heated (how fast? slow simmer? rapid boil?) and the vapor is cooled until it condenses into liquid again. As I understand it (and I’m probably oversimplifying here), if you slowly bring to a boil a mixture of alcohol (ethanol, the basic alcohol in beer, wine, and liquor) and water, the alcohol and a little of the water will be the first things to vaporize. When that vapor condenses into liquid again, it will be 95% alcohol (Everclear).

        Where it gets complicated is that the liquid being heated is not all alcohol (ethanol) and water. Typically there are small amounts of other volatile liquids in the mixture. Some vaporize at a lower temperature than ethanol. So what vaporizes first won’t be the ethanol or all ethanol– it will be some of this other stuff, too. So distillers (depending on what they’re starting with, I assume) will (if they’re distilling a batch at a time, not using some continuous process) divert the first fifth or so of the condensed liquid, save the next 3/5 of it, and divert the last fifth. Why the last fifth? (Again, as I understand it) the vapors coming out of the boiling liquid will contain less ethanol and water, and more of things that vaporize at higher temperatures. Both the first things off the process and the last things off (first and last 1/5’s of the condensed liquid) contain things which are not necessarily good to drink; some of them reputedly are what leads to hangovers.

        Again, I’ve probably oversimplified– this stuff is complex.

        But going back a bit. If you boil a liquid hard enough, you get a lot of vapor and some mist (fine droplets of the liquid you’re boiling). If that liquid has some gluten in it, so will the result of the process.

        Even if you’ve not boiled that hard, what do you do with a liquid that is 95% alcohol (180 proof)? You dilute it with something. Mostly water. How pure is the water? Dissolved minerals in the water will give the water some flavor (and some people pay a lot for some mineral waters). So you use spring (or well or filtered stream or glacier) water to dilute, and you get a little extra flavor. Want more flavor? Add back a little of the liquid you were boiling. But wait– if that had gluten in it, you’re adding back some gluten as well as some flavors. Or add various flavoring agents to get things like gin and liqueurs. (Do any of those contain gluten? Juniper berries and orange peel should be okay. But what of other things– could any of those things have some gluten, either naturally or from cross-contamination?) And it is said that at some times and in some places, coopers (barrel-makers) have cheated a little and used a little wheat paste or dough to seal their barrels. Sorry, celiacs. (I suspect that practice has largely been abandoned, but who knows?) So it is possible, but by no means guaranteed, that some gluten can end up in the final product.

        I’m sure someone more versed in the process of distillation and the post-distillation handling of spirits could point out several flaws in the above, but I think it is fairly accurate.

        1. I found these explanations helpful

          Sure if mash is added back in, of course, it will not be gluten free. I don’t know of any commercial distilleries that do this.
          Most sills are heated to 173, they aren’t at a rolling boil. The whole idea is to separate the alcohol and tasty volatile aromatics from everything else. Gluten is made of two proteins that are bound together glutenin and gliadin. They are too big to be vaporized during distillation.
          Although I’m not an expert in spirits, I am a biochemist.
          As long as the spirit has been distilled, no mash added back and no flavorings added that contain gluten, it should be fine.

          My general rule is “when in doubt go without” so if you aren’t convinced, by all means go without.

          1. Sarah, it’s not “that I’m unconvinced.” It’s that I have tried various whiskeys and gluten derived spirits and I’ve always paid a heavy price, (worse than eating croutons on a salad in my early GF days.) I can drink Tito’s and rum without ill effect. It’s fine to say that most gluten doesn’t travel through the distillation process but when you’re talking about something the size of a molecule* it’s unreasonable to say that none of the gluten rides through on surface tension. The only question is how much. Whiskey may be very, very low in gluten but it is surely not 100% gluten free.

            * (Even though gluten is huge compared to a sugar molecule it is still very, very, very small. You would not be able to see one, even with an expensive microscope.)

        2. 80% of flavor and 100% of color of bourbon / whiskey comes from the barrel aging process. Yeast adds an estimated 5% of the final flavor and the grains add the remaining flavor.

          Most whiskey comes off the still at 160 proof. It will taste like sour banana bread and burn like fire. Water is added to bring the distillate down to about 125 proof.

          No distiller add the orginal mash in the final product. That is absolutely not correct. They do however take some of the spent grains from the current batch and put it in to the mash bill of the next batch. That’s the sour mash process invented by Dr James C Crow. You might know his Bourbon called Old Crow – the orginal sour mash.

          Some of the old mash is added in during the fermentation of the current batch. It raises the acidity level, kills off any unwanted bacteria, helps with fermentation, and ensures consistency between batches of whiskey. Imagine take a spoonful of today’s oatmeal and mixing it in with tomorrow’s bowl. Then making whiskey with it.

          Fermentation is before distillation so anything after distillation has no contact with anything solid used prior to that point.

      3. all whisky is aged some are blended the glass you drank it from was probably contaminated no its not the whiskey i have a family member that has celiac i make whiskey and age it as a hobbey shes so sensitive she has seperate cook ware from her husband and kids she can drink all my booze with no prob except my beer dont make gluton free beer lol alcohol distilled at 95 percent then cut with water down to 40 then aged has no gluton in it and i know my spelling sux lol lazy typer dont feel like fixing the errors lol

    2. It’s the fireball flavoring I bet, not the whiskey. I have celiac and straight whiskey is fine. I’ll never drink fireball again, unfortunately, because I assume the flavoring has gluten in it. If you like whiskey, Try a whiskey without flavoring.

    3. It’s not the whiskey in the fireball that is giving you the bad effects, it is the flavoring additive, the cinnamon flavoring, that is the culprit.

    4. The fireball whisky shots do have gluten, because of the fact that it has cinnamon flavoring made from malt barley. Regular whisky is gluten free. It’s only when you start adding flavors that you are potentially adding barley.

  3. I am not a official celiac, but I am definitely gluten sensitive and have had NO JOINT PAIN since I have gone gluten free.
    In general I like beer, but beer doesn’t like me, but I have found Omission to be a great option for me. I prefer the amber, I think it is, to the IPA.

          1. Doesn’t mean it’s not destroying your gut. I destroyed mine for 8 years (gluten bomb every meal, 3 meals a day) and had no significant backlash until much later.

  4. You left off cider! Most is naturally gluten free so a perfect alternative. So many good artisanal choices these days. A big fan of Bold Rock made in southern Virginia.

  5. Great read sir! I currently make a line of beers which are naturally gluten free… Our Root Sellers’ Brewing Company beers are NOT brewed with Malts, Hops, or Barley so we are naturally GLUTEN FREE! For example our Root Beer is brewed with pure cane sugar, molasses, Madagascar vanilla, sassafras and touch of wintergreen. Our Ginger Beer is brewed with pure cane sugar, molasses, and ginger root. Drop me an email and I’ll send ya a sample… Thanks for all you do to help the community!

  6. This reminds me of my daughter saying she is allergic to olives (tongue in cheek) after drinking several martinis. Nice read, Dude. Here is a favorite little poem for you.
    “Travel light in life. Take only what you need: a loving family, good friends, simple pleasures, someone to love, and someone to love you; something to eat, enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink for thirst is a dangerous thing.”
    – Anonymous.

  7. GD-

    Mmmm. Perfect subject for a Jersey Girl Friday. Dirrty girl (thanks Christina Aquilera) here, Gotta be Tito’s with some olive love in it. Cheers y’all!

    Jersey Girl
    The hills have eyes,
    The hills have eyes
    Who are you to judge, who are you to judge?
    Hide your lies, girl, hide your lies
    -the weekend
    Only you to trust, only you


  8. I disagree from experience about the wine. I have a painstakingly made gluten free beef stroganoff my friend made for me completely gluten free. I very carefully vetted the ingredients, and she is the ONLY person I trust to cook for me — I’ve educated her. If what you say about wine is true, then there was NO good reason for me to have a tummy ache for a week after I had it. Except I did. When I discovered it was an oak barrel aged wine, and we replaced it using a non oak barrel aged wine, I had no issues.

    I am very careful with wines.

      1. What scares me about being celiac and not having the clear reactions others describe is that the gluten can still be affecting your immune system, no matter how small the amount.

  9. CIROC vodka is my favorite and I know it is completely safe. It is made from French grapes. Even the flavored vodka is gluten free.

  10. I’ve had this concern for a while and actually stopped drinking mixed drinks at bars, but I am super concerned about cross-contamination of those glasses that they also serve beer in (ditto for plastic pitchers that are used for both beer and water). Am I being overly concerned? It just seems the triple wash at the bar cannot possibly get things clean.

    1. You’re not mistaken I don’t believe. Among gluten I have other allergies, one being anything milk derived, including lactic acid, casein, and caramel color (I have a point, promise.), one thing I noticed wasn’t the glasses, it was the *gun* from the bar for sodas. They’d serve mountain dew (may my body’s ability to enjoy that beverage rest in peace with a lot of other food dreams ^j^) through the same gun they served pepsi and about six other items through. Same with the pizazz cooker. I have to line it with aluminum. I’m the only once in the house, and those surfaces no matter how well you scrub, still carry it over. That would probably be why a friend can’t cook for another. Teflon carries gluten if used often, or, if ever burnt on (and who remembers the lifetime of one of many pans??). Thes have been my discoveries. I bleed when I consume even remnants of gluten, doesn’t even have to be the actual item.

      1. Thanks for mentioning the blood, I thought I was crazy because that is mostly my reaction too (rarely”di-di”, but never pain) and never read of anyone else with it.

  11. I’ve had this concern for a while and actually stopped drinking mixed drinks at bars, but I am super concerned about cross-contamination of those glasses that they also serve beer in and ditto for plastic pitchers that are used for both beer and water. Am I being overly concerned? It just seems the triple wash at the bar cannot possibly get things clean.

    1. As a bartender, I can say with full confidence that glasses do not get 100% clean of beer. I often see remnants of the foam in clean glasses.

  12. I really like Red Bridge. My issue isn’t actually celiac but Fructose Malabsorption which means I’m sensitive to wheat, not gluten, because of the fructans (sugars). I can have small quantities of wheat depending what else I have that day. I haven’t heard of the others you listed as good/safe, but will look for them. Thank you. 🙂

  13. I love bourbon and I can say that one, Buffalo Trace, I can drink. They also make Rain vodka, which is all corn like Tito’s. A whiskey, or bourbon should be ok if it says ‘Straight Bourbon Whiskey”, however I have found that to be false, I got side swiped by a cheaper brand. I postulate that cheaper brands must cut corners, or maybe they don’t distill enough or some such. I had the opportunity to take tour of the Buffalo Trace distillery. They use new oak barrels and they are very picky about them, no wheat paste or it would ruin the whiskey. Buffalo Trace is more of a ‘mid shelf’, and their top shelf Eagle Reserve is phenomenal. I have tried other ‘upper shelf’ brands with no issues. As far as barware goes, it may depend on the bar as far as getting the glasses clean. A fancy bar would be fine, as you could ask about the cross contamination and they would be happy to accommodate you for 9.00-20.00 cocktails. A lower end one would be scary, only because it seems people in them are not as educated about gluten( and some don’t care)and best to avoid unless they used plastic cups for your beer or cider like they do at the AMC Theater.

  14. I tasted this beer at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival , they only had 7-8 gluten free but this one stood out. I went to go with my son, not for the 7 or 8 beer tastes. It might have been worth this one. Coors Peak –
    I know it’s by Coors of all people, but it was good! It tasted like REAL beer. Right now it’s only available in the northwest, so if you are up that way give a try.

  15. Anyone that thinks there reacting to a GF liquor, you may have a Candida overgrowth. Celiac and Candida go hand n hand. It’s possible your reacting to the high alcohol content with heavy carbs or sugar that was ate along with drinking. This flared up your gluten symptoms which are really the same. Candida comes along with intestinal damage sometimes.

    1. Hiya, I’m really glad I have found this info. Nowadays bloggers publish just about gossips and internet and this is actually annoying. A good blog with exciting content, that is what I need. Thanks for keeping this web site, I will be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can not find it.

  16. I came down with celiac after my second spinal fusion and revision. Does some sort of trauma to your body cause celiac to raise it’s ugly head? I try very hard to stay gluten free but also have fibromyalgia. Have had three other joint replacements. My stomach hurts every day. When I was a child I had stomach trouble. Could I have had this all my life and this is the result? This is the first time seeing you web site. I think it’s wonderful!! I’m 67.

    1. It’s common for celiac to go undiagnosed in childhood, and the disease CAN go into remission: this is why celiac was considered a childhood disease. I was diagnosed as an infant, and my mother was told that my intestinal tract hadn’t fully developed yet. But I apparently “grew out of it.” At least, my symptoms were milder and spread out so they weren’t attributed to it.
      I have read that trauma can activate latent celiac disease.

  17. So I’m a Miller Lite kinda girl, but now I have to find a gluten-free beer. I’ve google it and stick come up thirsty. Give me so options, please.

    1. GD gave three at the top of this blog post: “My personal favorites: Glutenberg (especially the IPA), Pyro, Groundbreaker.” I’m not much of a beer drinker, but I’ve bought Glutenberg (American Pale Ale) in the Chicago area; it seems fairly light to me, but then I used to drink Guinness occasionally. Also available here are Green’s (which I think is pretty widely available, from Belgium) and New Planet, both with several kinds. I think you just have to go to a store with a big beer selection and ask, to find out what’s available in your area. I saw something recently about two relatively new breweries in or around Boulder, CO, that do GF beers, but I doubt they have very wide distribution yet. You’ll find quite a few with a Google search, and some of them may have store locators, but the stores may not carry light versions.

      Make sure you read GD’s section on beer above. (I agree with him that the “gluten removed” beers and some of the others that claim to be safe for celiacs but were made with barley malt are not to be trusted. YMMV.) A real beer drinker who has to go GF might be able to give you suggestions for lite GF beer, if such a thing exists. Good luck.

  18. So the issue of gluten-free beer is already a cloudy one as you mention, GD. Here’s an article I just read that clouds matters even farther:

    “Barley-based beer goes gluten-free for the first time”:

    Apparently, if my read is right, scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s federal government agency for scientific research, have developed a proprietary type of “gluten-free” barley, which they refer to as “Kebari barley”. This Kebari supposedly contains about 1/10,000th (or 0.01%) of the amount of gluten that is present in conventional barley. As such, beer brewed conventionally from Kebari — such as the one debuting this week from the German brewer mentioned in this article — is gluten-free in the sense that it falls below 20ppm in gluten content.

    On the other hand, some jurisdictions decree that nothing containing barley, rye or wheat (or oats so contaminated, for the sake of completion) can be marketed as gluten-free, regardless of whether the resulting ppm count happens to fall below 20. Ironically enough Australia itself, the home of Kebari is an example of this.

    The title of this article sounds almost like a dig at gluten-removed beer, but other than this I’m not quite sure what to make of it yet having just read it today. I’m still skeptical at this stage and await more information. The article also mentions plans to use Kebari in the development of GF food products.


  19. Good info, thanks.
    If you haven’t tried it yet, look for Ghostfish Brewing. It’s an entirely dedicated gf facility in Seattle but they are growing rapidly. Best gluten free beer ever hands down. If you don’t agree I’ll punch you right in the face.
    Seriously though, Ghostfish Brewing.

    1. Ghostfish is AMAZING!!! Especially if you like dark beers from your pre-gluten-free days. Their first anniversary stout was the bomb! I even liked their (canned) Grapefruit IPA and I don’t really like grapefruit or IPAs; that one just worked. They use really interesting grains and seem to have a lot of seasonal and experimental beers in their taproom. Hate to say it because I like Groundbreaker’s tractor theme, but Ghostfish rocks the socks off of Groundbreaker, hands down. Groundbreaker’s food was interesting though, and I’m a little undecided on Ghostfish’s food. Think I liked it better when they had Razzi’s pizza. Wish I could get Ghostfish on the East Coast. 🙁 Buy a pint glass. You won’t regret it!

      1. Ghostfish is THE BEST! I, too, was a fan of porters and stouts before I was diagnosed. Watchstander Stout is the bomb! But honestly I like every beer they make, including IPAs… and I never liked IPAs before.

        1. Totally agree: wish it was easier to find in New England! 🙁 And the food at their SoDo restaurant is ok, but not great, for the most part. Though the tacos are yummy!

  20. I can’t drink any liquor made from gluten. Maybe you’re right… maybe I react to something else. But I don’t have any other food allergies. What happens? I get a flush, splotchy rash from whiskeys (so sad… I know, I take all sympathies) and I get sick from vodkas, gins, etc. that are made from grains.

    I tend to stick to small batch potato vodkas (like Boyd and Blair) – but Titos is much easier to find. And there is 1 GF gin – G Vine, made from grapes and the traditional aromatics. It is an amazing gin. But uber hard to find.

    Good luck drinking all of you awesome celiacs!

    1. There is another gf gin I have found! Monopolowa makes a triple distilled potato based gin! I am in UT and we have pretty limited alcohol here in our liquor stores. It is the only one in UT I have found that is GF so maybe that will be easier to find 🙂

  21. Since I’m considered an expert with celiac desease (diagnosed in 91′) I have to tell you that I love my whiskey. And I also love my beer. If I want to “shit like a goose” for a few days, then I’ll down a few beers. GF beers suck, always have, always will.

    And just so you rookies know, this information hasn’t changed since my diagnoses. The only difference is the availability of really good GF food.

    Nice article DUDE

  22. I might have cracked the code on bourbon with respect to celiacs. I am a newly diagnosed celiac and I love love my whiskey. I understand that the distillation process removes the gluten proteins. I also believe those who say that they react to certain whiskeys; I’ve learned to trust my gut, literally, and I think most celiac people do as well. On a side note, I have a friend who researches the science of taste and smell for a living and he said that almost all food and bev (especially liquor) companies consult with flavor experts to achieve a particular taste profile with the help of additives. With that in mind, I researched the claim that some distillers might be adding ingredients after distillation that contain gluten. So I found this very interesting case where Templeton Rye admitted to flavoring their whiskey post distillation for consistency:

    It’s all perfectly legal, and this is where it gets interesting, because to be called a “bourbon whiskey” or “rye whiskey” you can add flavor ingredients up to 2.5% of total volume. Here is the text from the law:

    “there may be added to any class or type of distilled spirits, without changing the class or type thereof, (i) such harmless coloring, flavoring, or blending materials as are an essential component part of the particular class or type of distilled spirits to which added, and (ii) harmless coloring, flavoring, or blending materials (HCFBM) such as caramel, straight malt or straight rye malt whiskies, fruit juices, sugar, infusion of oak chips when approved by the Director, or wine, which are not an essential component part of the particular distilled spirits to which added, but which are customarily employed therein in accordance with established trade usage, if such coloring, flavoring, or blending materials do not total more than 2 ½ percent by volume of the finished product.”

    However, to be called a “straight bourbon whiskey” or “straight rye whiskey” you cannot have these additives. A great article explaining all of this can be found here:

    So, maybe we should just drink “Straight whiskey”?? Can anyone explain their experiences with “whiskey” vs “straight whiskey”? Cheers!

  23. I like scotch whiskey and prefer single malt. Glen Livet. Is it gluten free? What about blended scotch whiskey? Chivas Regal? I do not have celiac but I am being cautioned to avoid gluten. Any info anyone has is greatly appreciated!

  24. I’ve was diagnosed in December of 2014 and am glad to see more and more GF beers coming along. But I do have to at least share my experience with hard alcohols and the whole “distillation removes gluten.” I simply can’t have any grain-based alcohol… makes me terribly ill, so at least for my part, doubt that distillation removes it all.

    On that note, I was getting reactions when drinking tequila and wondered why…. it’s not grain based! But a knowledgeable fellow at the local liquor store told me that many cheaper tequilas are actually cut with grain-based vodka (which also explains the bad hangovers associated with cheap tequila.) He recommended I drink only 100% agave tequila. Since I’ve switched, NO reactions whatsoever. I also only drink 100% potato-based vodka (which is better anyway!)

    On that note, part 2: I am part Danish and loved my Danish Aalborg Akvavit. But that too began to make me really ill because it is grain-based. Thankfully, the Norwegian version, Linie, is potato-based and 100% awesome.

    These are just my experiences, though.

  25. Web sites can be very informative but perhaps it may be of value to ask the exact reasons alcohol or beer are not tested. Obviously, it can be tested. The question is why the result can not be interpreted.

    For a very practical example, if one were to test one of the liquors mentioned above and the result was positive what would that mean?
    Does the alcohol itself affect the test so as to give a false positive? if so, does that mean that any food/dish prepared with any alcohol content will give a false positive?
    The reverse is also of interest: Does alcohol give a false negative? If so, does that mean any food/dish with alcohol content give a false negative?

  26. Wine makers seal the oak barrels with wheat paste. I know this because I emailed some of the wineries that I had purchase products from, and they confirmed their use of wheat paste. Therefore, consume at your own risk.

  27. The last five times I’ve had Buffalo Trace I have had – ahem – issues the next day. I’m talking just one 4 ounce pour. I’m definitely stepping away from it because clearly I’m having a Celiac reaction to it. Anyone else have issues with Buffalo Trace ?

  28. curious what thoughts are on Bailey’s coffee liqueur (I also love Kahula). I love it but it makes me sick every time and I have tried over the years to see if it was just me or the Bailey’s.. I like Carolines and St. Brenards but not the same as Baileys.

  29. ok, for what it’s worth, i got ambushed by a “sciency” type guy last night. he is an herbalist, as is my wife. i mentioned that i make gluten free, booze for the herbal tinctures she uses. his response,…….all distilled alcohol is gluten free.

    i tried to point out that this is not the case and he threw the molecule size debate at me. i’m gluten sensitive and don’t have a chemistry background but i had read about this debate years before(he claimed he was unaware that there was a debate at all…(you know, the science is settled routine)

    i did my own experiment when i bought the “no gluten in distilled alcohol” side of the debate. not as much of an experiment but one of expediency and cost. i chose to buy grain based “everclear” and re-distill it myself since it contains no gluten, i could remove the higher alcohols(you have to look it up). what i found was that i was having gluten like reactions to this newly distilled alcohol.

    yes, it’s anecdotal but more than many “sciency” types have bothered to do. if celiacs keep having reactions to grain based alcohol, then, there should be some double blind studies to prove it and then find out why. there is some link missing behind the textbook explanation and reality.

    science says….”don’t believe your lying eyes”…..or in this case, …..gut

  30. Gluten Protein-molecules from wheat, at least, do not start to unfold until they reach around 500 degrees or higher(therefore, gluten is not “killed” off)distillation is at 212 degrees(depending on altitude)…I am a severe celiac, and have used my body as a “science lab”….no whiskey, no bourbon, very limited spirits, and wine aged in barrels used from any aforementioned spirits….I will stick with Betty Hagman’s recommendations, as I am more like what she explained from her research and recommended celiac diet and lifestyle…remember drug companies are not making any money off this hereditary autoimmune disease- to cure it drug- ….. the downplaying of this disease over the last several years, makes me sick.

  31. Thanks for the list, any people living in europe here? i really would love to find a gluten free beer. Most here are gluten removed. I miss Glutenberg 🙁 I can’t get it in Switzerland.

  32. Tequila Espolon Reposado may NOT be gluten free. I had strong symptoms after 1 margarita (added lime juice). My body had “ants” crawling along the nerve paths and I felt very off. I had to take half a benadryl to fall asleep.
    It may be a batch that used whisky oak barrels. Tried the Espolon silver the next day and zero issues.

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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.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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