Gluten Free Alcohol

If you’re new to the gluten free diet, you probably think that alcohol is a pretty safe category, right?



First let’s start with the things you can’t drink, and that is basically beer.

Beer in all its different forms – lager, IPA, stout, etc etc – is essentially out for you. There are some gluten free options now, which we’ll link to below, but for the most part your average beer selection at a pub is unlikely to cater for you. Beer is generally made from wheat and barley; the two things that’ll make you ill from here til Sunday, so don’t even be tempted to take a single sip.

Also something to think about: if your friends enjoy going to micro brew pubs and those pubs are brewing in the same vicinity as you’re drinking, you might want to beware, or move to a different drinking place depending on your sensitivity to gluten, because the particles will be permeating the air, and you’ll be breathing it in. (I once felt rotten after spending an entire afternoon at a tiny brewery in Brixton that was holding a brewing session upstairs – I didn’t think anything of it until my symptoms showed up in force a couple of hours later, but now I know it’s something to bear in mind).

Okay so your average bottle of beer is a no-no: what does that leave you?

Let’s investigate…

Look at the label before you pick up:

  • ‘Hard’ sodas

This label may make more sense to US readers than those from elsewhere but ‘hard’ sodas are basically fizzy drinks that are traditionally non-alcoholic but have had some form of spirit added. In the US these drinks often include malt, which coeliacs need to avoid. So always check the label, or ask about the ingredients, before you pick up a ‘spiked’ soda.

Definitely Safe Alcoholic drinks for Coeliacs:

First let’s start with the things that we generally know to be completely safe for the coeliac folk:

  • Cider

  • Wines

  • Sherry (a type of fortified wine made from grapes)

  • Rum (made from fermented sugar cane)

  • Tequila (made from fermented blue agave)

  • Vodka made from potatoes

  • ‘Spiked’ seltzer (that’s alcoholic fizzy flavoured water to the non-US readers out there)

Make a personal decision about…

  • Whiskey

  • Gin

  • Vodka made from grains

These distilled spirits should in theory be 100% safe thanks to the distilling process – Coeliac UK maintains that it is.

However some people have reported personal sensitivity to some or all, and so whether or not you avoid them must be a personal decision.

For example, I’m fine with gin or vodka, but a few sips of whiskey seem to bring on some unpleasant symptoms. I don’t know if they’re related to gluten or not, but they’re very similar symptoms, and so I personally avoid whiskey. Keeping a food diary will help you keep track of your own reactions to these things.

So. All in all, the drink situation is pretty positive, with just a couple of drinks off the table – and actually, if you can find them, you have some pretty great gluten free beer choices!

UK- based gluten free beers:

US-based gluten free beers:

Do you have a favourite Gluten Free beer or gluten free drink that you just have to share? Tell us where we can find it below!