Alcoholic Beverages and Gluten

For people with celiac disease presence (or absence of) of gluten in alcohol is a major issue. The problem is magnified for the fact that, there is no easy way to tell if an alcoholic beverage contains gluten or it is free from gluten. The distinction of presence or absence of gluten in alcoholic beverages may make the difference of suffering and enjoyment. But the best approach is to be careful about alcoholic beverages, if you suffer from celiac disease. The saying “it is better to be safe than sorry” should be applied by persons with “celiac disease” when it comes to consumption of alcoholic beverage and should consume alcohol only if you are sure that the alcoholic beverage you are going to consume is free from gluten. 

According to the “Manual of Clinical Dietetics” of ADA (American Diabetic Association) there are many alcoholic beverages which can be termed (and they are) free from gluten, if no coloring agent or any other additive is added to them, as these may contain gluten.

Alcoholic beverages such as whisky in most cases is prepared (distilled) from mash that contain grains which contain gluten, although during distillation process all proteins including gluten is removed, which is why they generally are gluten free. There are also some brands of whisky which are prepared (distilled) from grains such as corn, which are free from gluten and labeled as such and if no color or additive is added, these whisky preparations can be consumed safely by people with celiac disease.

Spirits such as brandy, port, rum, wine, cider, sherry etc. which are prepared without grains do not contain gluten, unless gluten is used as clarifying agent or manufacturers use flour paste in oak barrels, where wine is aged. Tequila is safe to consume by individuals with coelic disease as it is usually free from gluten, if there is no artificial color is added. But people with celiac disease need to exercise caution while consuming spirits, because these days many are produced from wheat, rye or barley.

Beer most of the time is not safe for celiac disease patients as most of the time beers are produced from malted wheat or barley which has very high amount of gluten. But there are some brands of beers which are produced from buckwheat, sorghum etc. which are free from gluten. If you are a celiac disease patient and you decide to drink beer, it is essential for to confirm that the particular beer is made from gluten free grains, so be safe than sorry.


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