Yes, pure, distilled whiskey (or whisky), even if made with wheat, barley, or rye is considered gluten-free.
Most whiskeys are safe for people with celiac disease because of the distillation process. However, be on the lookout for hidden gluten in whiskeys that add flavorings or other additives after distillation. There is also a risk for gluten cross-contact in facilities that process products containing wheat, barley, or rye.
Common Brands of Whiskey Include:
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which regulates most alcoholic beverages in the United States, recently ruled that distilled alcohol, even when made with a gluten-containing grain, can be labeled gluten free. Examples include whiskey made from wheat or rye and Scotch made from barley.
The ruling was triggered when the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates most food, clarified its labeling requirements for hydrolyzed, fermented and distilled products.
“Because distillation removes protein if good manufacturing practices are followed, and because it is possible to verify the absence of protein or protein fragments in these products using scientifically valid analytical methods, TTB will permit “gluten-free” claims on distilled products from gluten-containing grains as long as good manufacturing practices are followed to prevent the introduction of any gluten-containing material into the final product,” according to the TTB.
Companies that make distilled alcohol have to be able to prove, upon request, that there is no protein in the distillate or any added ingredients and that precautions have been taken to prevent cross-contact, including from storage materials.
Additionally, the TTB continues to permit the term “gluten-free” on labels and in advertisements for alcohol beverages produced without gluten-containing grains or other ingredients containing gluten, provided the industry member takes appropriate measures to ensure that its raw materials, ingredients, production facilities, storage materials, and finished products were not subject to cross-contact with gluten. Examples include vodka made from corn or potatoes.
Any information on the gluten content of particular brands shared above was obtained during the last update of this page. Be sure to check with the manufacturer for the latest info or if you have any questions.
Learn more about gluten and alcohol in this section from Answers from a Dietitian.