Is There Such A Thing As Gluten-Free Whiskey?

While by now most people have heard of the term "gluten-free," many are unsure of what exactly it means. Firstly, who eats this way? Although there are many people who decide to eat gluten-free for various reasons, those who have celiac disease must avoid gluten to stay healthy. Some also have gluten sensitivities and prefer to avoid it to feel less bloated and better overall. Starting on a gluten-free diet can be overwhelming, so let's start with the basics; what is gluten?

Gluten is a protein in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale (via Mayo Clinic). Given this, a lot of carb-heavy foods such as bread and pasta must be cut out, as well as many sweet treats like pastries and cakes. Thankfully many gluten-free substitutes are now readily available, but those on a gluten-free diet must be cautious when consuming something they don't know. While this may seem pretty straightforward, gluten is hidden in many things, such as soy sauce, salad dressings, and even certain chip seasonings (via Cleveland Clinic). Another sneaky place for gluten is alcohol. According to Top Whiskeys, whiskey is made from fermented grains, commonly barley, rye, or wheat. As mentioned above, these three grains all contain gluten. So, that's an automatic no-no for anyone on a gluten-free diet, right?

Gluten-free, could it be?

Well, let's slow down for just a minute. Beyond Celiac says that distilled whiskey, even those made with grains containing gluten, is gluten-free. "How can this be?" you may be asking. The distillation process of creating whiskey removes the gluten from said whiskey. During distillation, the fermented grains are heated, and alcohol rises to the top. The proteins found in the grains are heavy and, alternatively, sink to the bottom. The final product of distilled whiskey is then gluten-free (via

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration allows for food to be labeled as gluten-free if there are less than 20 parts per million of gluten. This becomes the case when whiskeys are distilled correctly, and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) now allows these alcohols that are made with gluten-containing grains to label themselves as gluten-free. One thing to note, however, is that there may be hidden gluten in additives or flavors mixed into whiskeys after the distillation process, and these would not be considered gluten-free. While this is exciting for many, some people with celiac or gluten sensitivities may have reactions to whiskey made from gluten-containing grains (via Very Well Fit). If this is the case for you, try out some whiskey made from sorghum instead!

Please note — if you're following a gluten-free diet, be sure to do research and discuss with your doctor before consuming.