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Is Bourbon Gluten-Free? Here’s the Scoop (2022 Updated)

Last Updated on November 29, 2022 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

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.

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.

Key Takeaways 

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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