Is Whiskey Gluten-Free?




Is Whiskey Gluten-Free?

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Is Whiskey Gluten-Free?: For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, figuring out if whiskey is gluten-free can be confusing. This comprehensive guide examines if whiskey contains gluten and provides tips for choosing safe gluten-free whiskey brands.

Does Whiskey Contain Gluten?

Is Whiskey Gluten-Free?

Many types of whiskey, including bourbon, rye, and Scotch, are made from gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley, and rye. However, the distillation process removes gluten proteins from the final spirit.

During distillation, the fermented grain mash is heated and separated into fractions based on boiling point. The condensed ethanol liquid contains no gluten, while the gluten remains with the grain solids.

So while whiskey starts with gluten-containing ingredients, the final distilled spirit is considered gluten-free by many health organizations.

Distillation Removes Gluten

  • The Celiac Disease Foundation and National Institutes of Health confirm distillation removes gluten from spirits like whiskey.
  • Independent lab testing on bourbon and Scotch whiskeys also found gluten levels below 20ppm, the cutoff for gluten-free labelling.
  • However, those highly sensitive should note there’s no guarantee all gluten traces are removed.

Gluten Contamination Risks

Despite distillation, some individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity react negatively to whiskey. There are a few potential reasons:

Trace Gluten

  • Few gluten molecules may survive distillation, especially if process issues occur.
  • Those highly sensitive may react even to small traces other consumers can tolerate.


  • Gluten cross-contamination can occur during processing and bottling at facilities that also handle gluten ingredients.

Added Ingredients

  • Certain flavourings, colouring, or undistilled mash extracts added post-distillation may contain gluten.
  • It’s difficult to know from the label if risky ingredients were added.

Choosing Safe Gluten-Free Whiskeys

Those sensitive to gluten can minimize risks by choosing whiskeys made with gluten-free grains or contacting brands about their gluten-handling procedures.

Look for Gluten-Free Grains

  • Corn whiskey like Georgia Moon is gluten-free.
  • Rice whiskey like Kikori uses gluten-free rice.
  • Sorghum whiskey brands include Queen Jennie, KOVAL, and Post Meridian Spirits.

Check Labeling Cues

  • Avoid grain whiskey that doesn’t list the grain source, which could hide gluten ingredients.
  • Some brands advertise “gluten-removed” on labels when using gluten grains.

Contact Brands

  • Reach out to brands about their facilities, processes, and ingredients to identify cross-contamination risks.
  • Smaller craft distilleries may be able to provide more information.

Best Gluten-Free Whiskey Brands

These whiskey brands test below 20ppm or use certified gluten-free facilities and ingredients:





  • New Southern Revival Sorghum Whiskey
  • Frey Ranch Bourbon and Rye
  • Striped Maple Wheat Whiskey

Gluten-Free Whiskey Cocktails

Is Whiskey Gluten-Free?

Whiskey-based cocktails can be modified to be gluten-free:

  • Use corn or rice-based spirits like rum, tequila, vodka, gin or gluten-removed beer.
  • Verify mixers like juices, sodas, syrups and bitters are gluten-free.
  • Request gluten-free simple syrup instead of bar syrups that may contain wheat.
  • Ask for drinks to be prepared in clean, sanitized equipment without cross-contamination.

Is Whiskey Gluten-Free?: The Bottom Line

While most whiskey is gluten-free due to distillation, trace gluten risks remain. Those with celiac disease or sensitivity should consider their individual level of sensitivity and opt for whiskeys using gluten-free grains or with third-party gluten-free certification. When in doubt, check with whiskey brands about their production procedures and ingredients. With the proper precautions, you can likely enjoy whiskey cocktails without adverse reactions.

Frequently Asked Questions: Is Whiskey Gluten-Free?

Below are answers to some common questions about whiskey and gluten:

Is bourbon gluten-free?

Most bourbon is gluten-free, as the distillation process removes gluten proteins. However, those highly sensitive should note trace amounts may remain.

Is rye whiskey gluten-free?

While rye whiskey starts with gluten-containing rye grain, the distillation process removes nearly all gluten. However, trace amounts may persist so it may not be suitable for those highly sensitive.

Is Scotch gluten-free?

Yes, Scotch whisky is considered gluten-free. The distillation process removes gluten proteins from the final spirit, even when made from gluten grains like barley.

Is flavoured whiskey gluten-free?

Flavoured whiskeys like Fireball may contain added flavourings, colours or extracts that introduce gluten risk. Check with manufacturers on all ingredients used.

Is Tennessee whiskey gluten-free?

Major Tennessee whiskey brands like Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel use gluten grains but test below 20 ppm gluten due to distillation. They should be safe for most but not those highly sensitive.

Can people with celiac drink whiskey?

Most people with celiac disease can drink distilled spirits like whiskey without issues. However, those highly sensitive should exercise caution and choose gluten-free whiskeys.


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