Traditional beers, ales, and lagers are made from malted barley (gluten!), hops, yeast and water. These beverages are produced through a process of fermentation, not distillation, so they will contain unacceptable levels of gluten for a gluten-free diet and are blacklisted.
But even though a gluten-free diet may seem like a death sentence for beer lovers, there’s reason to rejoice. Gluten-free beer, a relatively new, modern-day creation to hit the market, is an invention developed to meet the growing market demand for gluten intolerant beer lovers. Gluten-free beers, lagers, and ales are typically made from fermented sorghum, buckwheat, and/or rice. The taste of a gluten-free brew is distinctly different from traditional beer, but is unique and not unappetizing. As the beer industry continues to take notice of the growing population of beer lovers adopting a gluten-free diet, more variations on the gluten-free beer theme are sure to be introduced by start-up entrepreneurs as well as the larger, well-known beer companies.
Other alcoholic beverages including whiskey, scotch, vodka, gin, and bourbon are made from gluten-grains but undergo distillation, which separates the gluten from the end product and renders them pure, gluten-free, and safe. Cordials like brandy and rum are also distilled and therefore gluten-free.
And wine lovers can rest easy because wine is naturally gluten-free, being made from grapes and other fruit infusions. Keep in mind that wine contains sulfates, which can produce sensitivities in some individuals, and if a flavored wine cooler incorporates barley malt it’s not gluten-free.
As with any product, carefully read the label and if you have specific questions, call the manufacturer.