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Is Bourbon Gluten Free? Here’s the Scoop (2024 Updated)

Is Bourbon Gluten-Free

Last Updated on February 23, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Whether you are health-conscious, trying to lose weight, or a celiac, knowing whether bourbon is safe for consumption is crucial. 

You might be tempted to drink whiskey or bourbon, but before doing so, you should ask yourself first, “Is bourbon gluten free?” Keep reading as we unveil the truth.

Does Bourbon Contain Gluten?

Old Grand Dad, Is Bourbon Gluten Free

According to The Celiac Disease Foundation, distilled alcohol is technically gluten-free because distillation removes the harmful gluten protein. 

It’s a known fact that bourbon whiskey, America’s Native Spirit, has a mash bill of at least 51% corn and up to 49% of rye, malted barley, and wheat. Corn is a gluten-free grain—however, the other ingredients used in bourbons may have gluten. 

What Makes Bourbon Gluten-Free? (Or Not) 

The distillation process where the bourbon grains go through makes bourbon whiskey gluten-free.

According to experts, distillation separates gluten from grains. However, this process may separate most of the grains’ gluten, but if it wasn’t performed correctly, there could be a chance that some gluten may still be present in beverages.

Whiskey may also put the “gluten-free” label, which the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau may approve. 

Is It Safe For People With Celiac? 

Bourbon Cocktail

According to experts, most bourbons are safe for drinkers with celiac disease or people with gluten sensitivity. They believe that the distillation process effectively removes gluten from the grains used in every bourbon mash.

However, some brands add additives and flavorings after distillation, which may make them unsafe for people with celiac disease.

There could also be a risk for cross-contamination of gluten in some facilities that also distill products with gluten grains like wheat and rye.

Can You Drink It In A Gluten-Free Diet? 

Yes, you can drink bourbon if you are on a gluten-free diet. When bourbons are distilled, they are, in theory, considered free of gluten.

Seemingly, even if the whiskey used some gluten-containing grains, the gluten in them is taken out once they are distilled. 

Did You Know? : Some people who go off gluten to lose weight end up gaining weight instead because they consume packaged products without gluten that are often just as high in saturated fat, sugar, and sodium [1].

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Common Gluten-Free Bourbon Brands

Common Gluten-Free Bourbon BrandsEvan Williams Bourbon

Evan Williams a gluten-free bourbon. Once you open a bottle of this bourbon, you’ll be greeted with refreshing notes of caramel with hints of oak, vanilla, and barley. 

Bulleit Bourbon

Bulleit Bourbon

Bulleit bourbon gives off a complex taste from corn, rye, special yeast strains, barley malt, and Kentucky limestone-filtered water blend. Its high rye content will give a spicy note with a long, smooth finish.

Jim Beam Bourbon

You can find Jim Beam on most shelves and bars. It has a more oaky vanilla flavor and spicy notes because it is twice barrelled. A sip of this bourbon gives off more sweetness, okay, grain, char, and fruity flavors.

Four Roses Bourbon

Four Roses Bourbon

Four Roses gluten-free bourbon gives a more contemporary and sophisticated flavor. It has aromatic notes of floral, fruit, honey, and spice. 

Elijah Craig Bourbon 1789

Elijah Craig 1789 is a gluten-free whiskey aged in new charred oak barrels and gives off a complex aroma of vanilla bean, fresh mint, and sweet fruit notes. 

Other spirits like Wild Turkey and Knob Creek are also great gluten-free options.

Disclaimer: Still, please do note that some distilleries sometimes produce other alcohols made from gluten ingredients. Thus, if you’re concerned about any cross-contamination, we suggest reaching out to the distillery directly. 

Corn Bourbon Option 

Mellow Corn Bourbon

If you really crave to get a taste of the renowned bourbon, you may have the option of consuming 100% corn-based bourbons.

As long as the corn was protected from cross-infection with gluten while being processed and prepared, corn dishes with no other gluten ingredients [2] are safe. 

You may want to check out Hudson Baby bourbon, made of 100%  single grain New York corn. New Southern Revival Sorghum Whiskey is also made from 100% Jimmy Red corn. James F.C. Hyde Sorgho Whiskey is also a good option.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are all bourbons gluten-free?

In theory, all bourbons, like whiskey, are gluten-free even if they have gluten-containing ingredients and grains without gluten.

According to experts, the distillation process that bourbons go through may remove gluten from the gluten-containing grains.

What bourbons are not gluten-free?

Bourbons that may have encountered gluten cross-infection during their distillation process are not gluten-free. Bourbons that also add flavorings and other additives may also have gluten.

Does bourbon whiskey have gluten?

Bourbon, by nature, is distilled from grains, including corn, rye, barley, and wheat; during the distillation process, gluten proteins are left behind, making pure, unadulterated bourbon inherently gluten-free, but cross-contamination may occur during production or bottling.

What whisky is not gluten-free?

Whiskies made from malted barley or other gluten-containing grains, such as traditional Scotch whisky, may not be gluten-free; these grains introduce gluten during the fermentation process, posing a concern for individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

Is Jack Daniel’s gluten-free?

Jack Daniel’s, specifically the Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey, is generally considered gluten-free due to the distillation process, which removes gluten proteins; however, some individuals with extreme gluten sensitivities may still experience reactions, prompting careful consideration and consultation with healthcare professionals.

What alcohol is always gluten-free?

Certain distilled spirits, including vodka, rum, gin, and tequila, are inherently gluten-free as the distillation process effectively removes gluten proteins; however, flavored versions or mixers added later may introduce gluten, necessitating careful label reading for those with gluten sensitivities.

Is Johnnie Walker gluten-free?

While Johnnie Walker Scotch whiskies are made from malted barley, a gluten-containing grain, the distillation process typically removes gluten proteins, making most Scotch whiskies, including Johnnie Walker, technically gluten-free; however, individuals with gluten sensitivities may choose alternatives to avoid potential cross-contamination.

Is Glenfiddich gluten-free?

Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky is distilled from malted barley, containing gluten; although the distillation process removes most gluten proteins, individuals with celiac disease or severe gluten sensitivities may exercise caution and choose whiskies made from gluten-free grains.

Does Coke have gluten in it?

Coca-Cola, including regular and diet variations, is generally considered gluten-free; its ingredients, such as carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, and natural flavors, do not contain gluten; however, individuals with extreme gluten sensitivities may want to verify the latest information and check for cross-contamination risks.

Why is bourbon not gluten-free?

Bourbon is often made from a mash bill that includes grains like corn, rye, barley, and wheat; while the distillation process eliminates gluten proteins, potential cross-contamination during production or bottling may introduce trace amounts of gluten, making it a concern for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities.

Is Jim Beam A bourbon?

Yes, Jim Beam is unequivocally a bourbon. As a renowned American whiskey brand, Jim Beam hails from Kentucky and meticulously follows the stringent guidelines that define bourbon production.

It is crafted from a mash bill containing at least 51% corn, aged in new charred oak barrels, and possesses the distinctive characteristics that define bourbon, including its rich and robust flavor profile.

What bourbon has no barley?

Several bourbons are crafted without barley in their mash bills, catering to individuals with gluten sensitivities or those seeking alternative grain compositions. Brands like Buffalo Trace Bourbon and Wild Turkey Bourbon, for instance, employ a combination of corn, rye, and sometimes wheat, eschewing barley altogether.

These bourbons showcase the versatility within the bourbon category, offering varied flavor profiles without compromising adherence to bourbon’s fundamental production principles.

Is Chivas whiskey gluten-free?

Chivas Regal, a renowned blended Scotch whisky, introduces a nuanced consideration for those concerned about gluten. While the distillation process of Scotch whisky, including Chivas Regal, typically eliminates gluten proteins, the primary grain used in its production is malted barley, which contains gluten.

Consequently, individuals with celiac disease or heightened gluten sensitivities may exercise caution, as trace amounts of gluten could potentially remain. As such, those with gluten-related concerns might opt for whiskies made from gluten-free grains.

Is Hennessy gluten-free?

Hennessy, recognized globally for its exquisite Cognac, stands apart from the realm of bourbon and Scotch whisky. As a Cognac, Hennessy is distilled from grapes, specifically Ugni Blanc grapes from the Cognac region of France. This unique production process inherently renders Hennessy gluten-free, offering a suitable choice for individuals with gluten sensitivities. It exemplifies how the base ingredients and distillation methods contribute to the gluten-free status of certain spirits. As always, individuals with gluten-related concerns should exercise diligence in their choices and consult with healthcare professionals for personalized guidance.

Final Verdict: Is Bourbon Gluten Free?

Every person with a celiac disease dreams of enjoying a sip of bourbon whiskey without getting sick or feeling bloated.

However, even when some experts claim that pure distilled bourbon is safe to consume because the distillation process makes them gluten-free, it’s still better to be cautious. 

We recommend switching to bourbons labeled “gluten-free” or those made from corn and other gluten-free grains and have no added flavorings.

If in doubt, always ask for your doctor’s permission and advice before consuming any gluten-free whiskey or alcoholic beverages with gluten.

Reference:

  1. https://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/05/health/gluten-5-things/index.html 
  2. https://www.verywellfit.com/is-corn-gluten-free-562845
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