Frequently Asked Questions About Alcohol and the Gluten-Free Diet

Alcoholic beverages are either fermented or distilled. If an alcohol is fermented, it may contain protein from the starting materials that provided the starch or sugar. Whether a fermented alcohol is considered free of gluten protein depends upon the starting material.

Fermented Alcohols That ARE Considered Gluten-Free1

  • Wine
  • True Hard Cider
  • Labeled Gluten-Free beer (made without malted barley

Fermented Alcohols that ARE NOT Considered Gluten-Free1

  • Beer and other malted beverages (ale, porter, stout)
  • Sake/rice wine made with barley malt
  • Flavored hard cider containing malt
  • Flavored hard lemonade containing malt
  • Flavored wine coolers containing malt or hydrolyzed wheat protein


If the alcohol is a distilled product, proteins from the starting materials that provided the starch or sugar are removed.

  • Distilled spirits are considered to be free of gluten protein even if the starting material for the alcohol is wheat, barley, or rye.
  • Distilled alcohols include:
    • Pure distilled spirits such as vodka, gin, whisky, brandy, rum, and tequila
    • Flavored spirits, such as flavored vodka and flavored gin (These spirits are considered gluten-free UNLESS a gluten-containing ingredient has been added in after distillation.
    • Liqueurs and cordials


Allergen labeling of alcoholic beverages

White Labs Pilsner Lager Yeast (Not Labeled GF)

Revision Date: September 12, 2018
Melinda Dennis, MS, RDN Editors: Amy Keller MS, RDN, LD Daniel Leffler, MD, MS
Original Author: Tricia Thompson MS, RDN


  1. US Department of the Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Classification of Brewed Products as "Beer" Under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and as "Malt Beverages" Under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act. July 2008. Accessed August 16, 2018.
  2. US Department of the Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Major Food Allergen Labeling for Wines, Distilled Spirits, and Malt Beverages. Accessed August 16, 2018.
  3. Department of the Treasury. Revised Interim Policy on Gluten Content Statements in the Labeling and Advertising of Wine, Distilled Spirits, and Malt Beverages.
    February 11, 2014. Accessed August 16, 2018.
  4. TTB’s Interim Policy on Gluten-Free Labeling of Alcoholic Beverages. Gluten-Free Watchdog. July 20, 2012. Accessed August 16, 2018.
  5. Gluten Free Watchdog. Reminder: “Gluten-Removed” Malt Beverages can be Labeled “Gluten-Free” in the State of Oregon. June 11, 2018. Accessed August 16, 2018.
  6. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Proposed Rule for Gluten-Free Labeling of Fermented or Hydrolyzed Foods. November 16, 2017. Accessed August 16, 2018.
  7. Gluten-Free Watchdog. Fermentation Growth Media for Yeast and Concerns about Residual Gluten. Accessed August 16, 2018.

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