Gluten-Free Labeling of Alcohol

Gluten-Free Labeling of Alcohol

In Honor of Celiac Disease Awareness Month, Gluten Free Watchdog is writing a series of articles (the goal is one per day during the month of May) related to the gluten-free diet–currently the ONLY treatment for celiac disease.

Post (#23)…

Labeling of gluten-free products is not generally straight forward, and gluten-free labeling of alcohol is no exception. The bullet points below are intended to highlight the most important aspects of alcohol labeling with the intention of keeping it simple. If you would like more in-depth information than what is provided below, five additional articles on alcohol are available at Gluten Free Watchdog. One is posted under “gluten-free labeling of alcoholic beverages,” three are posted under “gluten-free beer,” and one is posted under “gluten contamination of wine.”

  • Alcoholic beverages in the US are regulated by either the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • The TTB regulates the vast majority of alcohol, including:
    • Distilled spirits
    • Wines containing 7% or more alcohol by volume
    • Fermented ciders containing 7% or more alcohol by volume
    • Malt beverages (including hard lemonade) that are made using BOTH malted barley and hops
  • The FDA regulates:
    • Wines and fermented ciders containing less than 7% alcohol by volume
    • Malt beverages that are made:
      • Without either malted barley OR hops
      • Without malted barley AND hops
  • The TTB allows alcoholic beverages to be labeled gluten-free ONLY if they are made without any ingredients containing gluten
  • The TTB allows alcoholic beverages fermented from barley or distilled from wheat, barley, or rye to be labeled “processed to remove gluten” as long as one of the following statements is included on the label:
    • “Product fermented from grains containing gluten and [processed or treated or crafted] to remove gluten. The gluten content of this product cannot be verified, and this product may contain gluten.”
    • “This product was distilled from grains containing gluten, which removed some or all of the gluten. The gluten content of this product cannot be verified, and this product may contain gluten.”
  • The FDA allows alcoholic beverages under their jurisdiction that comply with the agency’s gluten-free labeling rule to be labeled gluten-free

Tomorrow’s post: Why distillation is compatible with a gluten-free diet

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