Warning to those with Celiac Disease: Gluten Reduced Beers

Did you know that gluten reduced beers are not a safe option for those with Celiac Disease?

The top gluten free beer articles on a Google search often lump up gluten free beers and gluten reduced beers together. In fact this article “12 Gluten-Free Beers that Actually Taste Good” published in Bon Appetit by Joshua M. Bernstein misinforms patients with Celiac Disease.  

Gluten Reduced Beers are not safe for those with Celiac Disease. This post will cover the differences between gluten reduced and free beers, warning label on gluten reduced beers, and the top 6 gluten reduced beers you’ll come across.

  • Gluten Reduced Beer is made with gluten-containing ingredients—barley, wheat, or rye. Its production is similar to that of commercially available beer with the exception that the gluten content of the beer is reduced.
  • Gluten Free Beer is made with gluten-free grains or other alternatives.
Gluten Reduced versus Gluten Free Beer
Gluten Reduced versus Gluten Free Beer

Warning Label: Crafted to Reduce Gluten

Alcoholic beverages are regulated in the U.S. by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau (TTB). Alcoholic beverages made from gluten-containing grains that are processed, treated, or crafted to remove gluten can be labeled as gluten-reduced.

The gluten-reduced alcoholic beverages label must contain both in the United States:

  • “ Processed or Treated or Crafted to Remove Gluten”
  • “Product fermented from grains containing gluten and crafted to remove gluten. The gluten content of this product cannot be verified, and this product may contain gluten.”

The manufacturer of a gluten-reduced alcoholic beverages must submit a label containing the above statements to the TTB for approval. Additionally, the manufacturer must inform TTB the production and testing methods that they will utilize.

The TTB will only approve the manufacturers label if it deems them to “truthful, accurate, and not likely to mislead consumers”.

Questions on the labeling and advertising of wine, distilled spirit, and malt beverages can be forward to TTB Advertising, Labeling, and Formulation Division.

  • Phone Number: 202.453.2250
  • Toll Free Phone Number: 866.927.ALFD (2533)
  • Fax Number: 202.453.2984
  • Email: alfd@ttb.gov

Why aren’t gluten-reduced beers safe for those with Celiac Disease?

There are no validated testing methods for the quantification fermented or hydrolyzed gluten peptides founds in food and beverages (1).

Gluten Reduced Beers
Gluten Reduced Beers

Top 6 Gluten Reduced Beer you’ll come across:

  • Production Method: Enzymatic Treatment (Brewers ClarexTM )
  • Testing Method: R5 Competitive ELISA method
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Ingredients: Water, malted barley, hops, and yeast.
New Belgium Glutiny: Pale Ale
New Belgium Glutiny: Pale Ale

Omission Brewing Co. produced only gluten-reduced beers. They produce Omission Lager, Omission Pale Ale, Omission IPA, and Omission Ultimate Light.

Omission Beers is very transparent about the test results of their beers. You can download a PDF of the results of their gluten reduced beers online. They are working hard at ensuring you that their gluten-reduced beers are safe.

 

Omission Lager
Omission Lager

Stone Delicious IPA is very transparent about the test results of their beers. You can download a PDF of the results of their gluten reduced beers online. They are working hard at ensuring you that their gluten-reduced beers are safe.

Additionally, this brand produces Stone Delicious IPA on draft. They claim that Stone Delicious IPA bottled in the keg is identical to their bottled beers. Yet, they refuse to make a statement on the gluten content Stone Delicious IPA on draft.

Why? The Stone Delicious IPA on draft will most likely be served on a line of the draft system at an establishment that used to serve beer. This can lead to cross-contact.

  • Production Method: Enzymatic Treatment (Brewers ClarexTM )
  • Testing Method: R5 Competitive ELISA
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Ingredients: Water, malted barley, hops, and yeast.
Stone Delicious IPA
Stone Delicious IPA

New Planet produces both gluten-reduced and gluten free beers. The Gluten Reduced Beers it produces include: Tread Lightly Ale and Seclusion IPA

I love that New Planet has created a very helpful diagram to help individuals with Celiac Disease to choose to drink Gluten Free Beers rather than their Gluten Reduced Beers.

If you have Celiac Disease, choosing their gluten-free beers is the safest option. Gluten Free New Planet Beer options include: Blonde Ale and Pale Ale

New Planet Tread Lightly Ale
New Planet Tread Lightly Ale

Sufferfest lists three beers on their website:  Suffestfest FKT Pale Ale, Sufferfest Repeat Kolsch, and Sufferfest Flyby Pilsner.

Sufferfest Flyby Pilsner is labeled to contain <10 ppm per gluten on their website. However, this is not visible on the can portrayed on their website. This would violates the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau regulations on gluten-reduced alcoholic beverages.

At the time that this article was written Sufferfest was not transparent about their production and testing method of their gluten-reduced beer, Sufferfest Flyby Pilsner.

  • Production Method: Not specified
  • Testing Method: Not specified
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Ingredients: Not specified
Sufferfest Flyby
Sufferfest Flyby

Daura Damm has been produced in Spain since 2006. It is available in 45 countries.

The term gluten reduced applies to alcoholic beverages governed by the TTB in the  United States. Daura Damm is labeled and advertised as being a gluten-free beer in every other country besides the United States.

The production and testing method of Daura Damm are not specified on their website. However, they do claim that all batches of Daura Damm are analyzed and certified by CSIG to ensure that it contains less than 3 ppm per gluten.

Unfortunately, there is no known scientific method that accurately quantify the gluten  peptides found in any fermented or hydrolyzed food or beverage.

  • Production Method: Not specified
  • Testing Method: Not specified
  • Country of Origin: Spain
  • Ingredients: Water, barley malt, rice, hops.
Daura Damm
Daura Damm

Summary:

  • Gluten Reduced Beers are not safe for those with Celiac Disease.
  • Gluten Reduced Beers in the United States come with a warning label that states “crafted to remove gluten”.

Do you drink gluten reduced or gluten free beers?

Let me know in the comments below.

References:

  1. Allred, Laura K., et al. “The Celiac Patient Antibody Response to Conventional and Gluten-Removed Beer.” Journal of AOAC International, vol. 100, no. 2, Jan. 2017, pp. 485–491., doi:10.5740/jaoacint.16-0184.

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