Is Bourbon Gluten Free? Plus Safer Options

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Does Bourbon Have Gluten?

Raise your glass and let’s toast to an age-old question: is bourbon gluten free? Whether you’re a connoisseur or just a casual bourbon enthusiast, this dilemma is enough to make any bourbon lover pause for thought.

While some people may assume that all distilled spirits are naturally gluten free, the answer isn’t quite as simple as it seems.

It’s time to get down to the bottom of this boozy riddle.

Three bottles of bourbon.

What is Bourbon?

Bourbon is a type of American whiskey made primarily from corn, and is considered one of the most popular types of whiskey.

It is made with a grain recipe that includes at least 51% corn and is aged in charred oak barrels.

It is typically distilled at a lower proof than other whiskeys and is known for its sweet and smoky flavor. 

A glass of bourbon on the rocks.

Bourbon Ingredients

Bourbon is usually made with four main ingredients – corn, rye, barley, and wheat. These grains are fermented and then distilled, then aged in charred oak barrels.

Some of the grains used to make bourbon are gluten-containing.

Three bourbon wooden barrels.

How is Bourbon Made?

Bourbon is made by fermenting the mash of grains, usually a combination of corn, rye, barley, and wheat.

The mash is then distilled in a still and always aged in charred oak barrels. Distillation is a process during which the alcohol is separated from the other ingredients in the mash.

During this process, the gluten proteins are broken down and the resulting liquid is considered gluten free. 

Keep reading because there is more you need to know!

A bottle of bourbon.

Is Bourbon Gluten Free?

The technical answer is yes, bourbon is considered gluten free. Since the gluten proteins are broken down during the distillation process, the final product should not contain any gluten.

Many people with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity say they react to distilled alcohol that is made from gluten-containing grains.

Two glasses with bourbon.

Also keep in mind, some manufacturers may add gluten-containing ingredients after the distillation process, so it is important to always check the label for any allergens. 

A hand holding a glass of bourbon.

Gluten Free Bourbon Brands

There are a few brands of bourbon that are made from 100% corn that are available on the market.

These bourbons should in theory be gluten free but I was unable to confirm with each manufacturer. Be sure to check the label to ensure that the bourbon is gluten free before purchasing.

Also read:

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