Gluten-Free Labeling of Alcohol

Posted on Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 at 8:58 am.

Consumer Question: Can alcoholic beverages be labeled gluten free?

Answer: It depends on the beverage but for the most part the answer is no. Most alcoholic beverages are regulated by the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Under their labeling provisions, health claims are not allowed. I recently corresponded with the TTB and was told, “The Bureau considers labels that declare a product to be “gluten free” or lead to the impression that a product is safe for those who suffer from celiac disease as making health claims, which are prohibited.”

One exception is gluten-free beer made from a substitute for malted barley. Other exceptions are wine and cider containing less than 7 percent alcohol by volume. These beverages are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. This is why beers, such as Redbridge and Bard’s Tale, which do not contain barley malt, can be labeled gluten free or state “made without wheat or gluten” on product packaging.