Is Bourbon Gluten Free? | Build a Stash

This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Key Takeaways

  • Pure, distilled bourbon is gluten-free
  • Bourbon should be safe for people with celiac disease
  • You can drink bourbon if you are on a gluten-free diet
  • Read product labels carefully before buying it if you have gluten intolerance

Bourbon is a type of whisky enjoyed by millions of people across the globe. But is bourbon gluten-free? Our guide has the answers.

Pure, distilled bourbon is gluten-free, even if it has been made with gluten-containing ingredients like wheat or barley. And, it should be safe to consume for people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. But, you should avoid any bourbon with additives and flavorings.

We are an online resource, focused on providing people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance with information that will help them to make better food choices. And, we provide this information through our short but informative guides, created by our team of health professionals and experienced journalists. We can therefore guarantee you that the information you are getting from us is beyond trustworthy.

Table of contents


About Bourbon

If you love whisky, there’s a high chance you’ve come across bourbon. So, what exactly is bourbon?

Bourbon is a type of whisky made from corn and grain mash and the product has gained a lot of popularity over the years. But, for a drink to be considered a bourbon, it should be strictly made from 51% corn and 49% grain mash. And, this grain mash can be made from rye, wheat or barley.

Therefore, any other variation in percentage for the key ingredients automatically means the whisky is not bourbon.

Also, bourbon has to be strictly made in the country, unlike some of the other whiskeys out there. So, while it may meet the ingredients requirements, it won’t qualify to be called bourbon if it has been produced outside the U.S.

Does Bourbon Have Gluten?

Gluten is a gluey protein mainly found in the majority of wheat and barley products. And, while most people won’t experience any issues with gluten, the situation is different for those with gluten intolerances, celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.

If this group of people consumed anything that contains gluten, they will experience a wide range of undesirable side effects.

These side effects can range from runny nose, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, headaches, asthma, sneezing, skin rash and itchy eyes, just to mention a few.

So, individuals with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease have to avoid any food or drink with gluten-containing ingredients.

But as we mentioned earlier, barley and wheat are used in the production of bourbon. And this brings us to the question, does bourbon contain gluten? Is bourbon gluten-free? Is there gluten-free bourbon on the market? Is bourbon a gluten-free whisky?

As much as bourbon is made using gluten-based ingredients, it’s considered gluten-free. The gluten present in the marsh used to make gluten-free bourbon will be removed during the distillation process. So, if you’ve been wondering whether bourbon is gluten-free, then the answer is yes.

Is Bourbon Safe For People With Celiac?

If you have celiac disease, you may be wondering whether bourbon is safe for you. So, is bourbon gluten free?

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, bourbon should be safe to drink for people with celiac disease. As much as it’s made with gluten-containing grains, the distillation process makes bourbon gluten free and it is part of a gluten free diet.

For example, the hudson baby bourbon does not contain bourbon gluten, and therefore, it is safe for you even if you have celiac disease. Similarly, the southern revival sorghum whiskey is gluten free whiskey.

Therefore, even if you have celiac disease, you can proceed to enjoy your gluten free bourbon as one of the alcoholic beverages which are safe for people with celiac disease.

Again, if you love gluten-free whisky, you can go ahead and enjoy a bourbon, as long as it’s pure and free of any additives. And, there’s a high chance you won’t experience any serious issues.

Another observation made on whiskeys is the number of years that the alcoholic drink has taken in aging. A high number of years in aging could lead to drastic reduction in the amount of gluten. It is estimated that three years of aging in whiskey leads to very low levels of gluten, if any.

Can You Drink Bourbon On A Gluten-Free Diet?

If you are on a gluten-free diet, then gluten-free bourbon should also be safe for you to drink. As we’ve mentioned above, the gluten in these gluten grains used to make bourbon whiskey has already been removed during the distillation process.

And, if you can tolerate small amounts of gluten, then you shouldn’t have any issues drinking bourbon, as long as you check the product labels carefully.

But, if you have severe gluten intolerance or you are still unsure whether bourbon will be safe for you to drink or not, then it will be advisable to opt for 100% corn gluten-free bourbon.

Notable gluten-free bourbon options include Yellow Rose Outlaw Bourbon, Koval Bourbon Whisky, Balcone Texas Blue Corn Bourbon, and New Southern Revival Jimmy Red Straight Bourbon.

Following a gluten free diet will mean you have the energy with you throughout the day, and you will do better in your weight management goals. In addition to that, you will manage the level of acidity that your stomach produces.

Cross-Contamination And Additives

As much as bourbon whiskey is considered gluten-free, cross-contamination always poses a risk, especially for those highly sensitive to gluten. And, cross-contamination can happen in various ways during bourbon’s pre-production and post-production processes.

For instance, bourbon may be aged in oak barrels that may have been previously used to hold cider, brandy or other alcohol-related drinks, which may contain gluten.

And as you may expect, gluten will be passed on to the bourbon from the oak barrels, albeit in small amounts, making it unsafe for individuals following a gluten-free diet.

Also, if gluten grains like wheat, rye and barley are not properly handled in the distillery, some gluten may eventually end up in bourbon, especially after it has been distilled. And, such bourbon whiskey may be unsafe for those on a gluten-free diet.

When the distillation process makes use of malted barley, then one must ensure that there is no contamination.

For instance, the same bottling equipment for gluten-containing alcohol may be used to bottle bourbon. And, such bourbon may contain small amounts of gluten, meaning it may not be safe for people with serious gluten sensitivity.

We should also point out that only pure, distilled bourbon is considered gluten-free. If the bourbon whiskey has any flavorings, additives, colorings or other added ingredients, there’s a high chance it may contain the harmful gluten protein, since these additives may contain gluten-containing ingredients.

In other words, the distillation process is a determinant before you consider bourbon gluten free.

If the distillers are careful in the distillation process, then they will have to have an end product which is gluten free. Contamination of the process with gluten will compromise the status of gluten.

Again, make sure you read the product labels carefully to see whether the bourbon you are looking to buy has additives or flavorings. Companies are becoming very transparent in giving accurate information about the products that they prepare.

However, bear in mind that the disclosure of gluten status in whiskeys is not anchored in law. Therefore, the consumers rely on the willingness of the manufacturers to disclose this information.

When you are not able to make a decision on your own, the best thing is to contact your doctor. The good thing is that your doctor has your medical history, and will be able to evaluate if a certain product could affect you.

In addition to that, your doctor can help you know the onset of celiac disease should you be developing it.