Mike’s Hard Lemonade is a popular flavored malt beverage that packs a punch while still tasting sweet and fruity. With flavors like strawberry, mango, and black cherry, Mike’s Hard Lemonade offers a refreshing adult beverage option. But an important consideration for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is whether Mike’s Hard Lemonades contain gluten.
What is Mike’s Hard Lemonade?
Mike’s Hard Lemonade is made by the Mark Anthony Brands company, which was founded by father and son duo Mike and Mark Anthony in 1999. The company set out to make a ready-to-drink adult beverage that was flavorful and appealed to a broad audience.
The original Mike’s Hard Lemonade product combines lemonade with alcohol (usually around 5% ABV). Over the years, the company has expanded the Mike’s Hard Lemonade line to include additional fruit flavors like raspberry, black cherry, mango, and strawberry. Seasonal flavors are also introduced. While the alcohol content varies slightly by flavor, most Mike’s Hard Lemonades are around 5% ABV (alcohol by volume).
In addition to the regular Hard Lemonade line, Mike’s has also introduced other product lines like a Harder line with 8% ABV and a lower-calorie Mike’s Light line. However, the standard Mike’s Hard Lemonade remains the company’s mainstay product.
Are Mike’s Hard Lemonades gluten-free?
The question of whether Mike’s Hard Lemonades are gluten-free is an important one for people who need to follow a gluten-free diet for medical reasons, like those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
According to Mike’s Hard Lemonade, most flavors are gluten-free. On their FAQ page, the company states that all of their Hard Lemonade, Harder Lemonade, and Light Lemonade products are gluten-free except for their Strawberry and Green Apple flavors.
Mike’s details that while the majority of their beverages are gluten-free, the Strawberry and Green Apple options do contain gluten. So those two flavors are not safe for people following gluten-free diets.
Gluten-free status by product line
Here is a summary of the gluten-free status of Mike’s Hard Lemonade’s various product lines:
- Hard Lemonade – Gluten-free, except for Strawberry flavor
- Harder Lemonade – Gluten-free, except for Strawberry flavor
- Light Lemonade – Gluten-free, except for Green Apple flavor
- Margarita – Gluten-free
- Sparkling Punch – Gluten-free
- Moscow Mule – Gluten-free
So most flavors across the Mike’s Hard Lemonade product lines are gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Only the Strawberry Hard and Harder Lemonades and the Green Apple Light contain gluten.
Ingredients that contain gluten
For the Strawberry Hard and Harder Lemonades that are not gluten-free, Mike’s states that they contain malted barley as an ingredient. Malted barley contains gluten.
For the Green Apple Light Lemonade, Mike’s states that the gluten-containing ingredient is maltodextrin. Maltodextrin can sometimes be derived from wheat and contain traces of gluten.
So in the case of these three gluten-containing flavors, it is the malted barley and maltodextrin ingredients that mean they do not meet the requirements to be labeled gluten-free.
Mike’s Hard Lemonade states that all their beverages undergo rigorous testing to determine if they meet the requirements to be labeled gluten-free. The testing allows them to confirm if any detectable gluten is present.
For a product to be labeled gluten-free in the United States, it must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. Mike’s states that their products undergo proprietary testing to ensure they fall below this FDA-regulated threshold to be labeled gluten-free.
While Mike’s does not provide details on their specific testing methodology, companies commonly use ELISA testing to detect the presence of gluten down to small amounts in the 5-10 ppm range. So rigorous laboratory testing combined with thorough product knowledge allows Mike’s to determine the gluten-free status of their various beverages.
Risk of cross-contamination
Aside from the product ingredients themselves, another consideration for people with celiac disease or on a gluten-free diet is the risk of cross-contamination during manufacturing and processing. Since most major allergen warnings state that products are made in facilities that also process wheat, there is always some small risk of gluten cross-contamination.
Mike’s Hard Lemonade does not make any guarantees about being manufactured in a dedicated gluten-free facility. So there is a chance of minimal gluten exposure from manufacturing equipment. However, any residual gluten due to cross-contamination would likely be well below the 20 ppm FDA limit to qualify for gluten-free labeling.
Those who are highly sensitive should take this into consideration. However, most Mike’s Hard Lemonade flavors seem to be tolerated fine by individuals with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity based on consumer reports.
Based on Mike’s labeling of their gluten-free and non-gluten-free varieties, here are some of the best Mike’s Hard Lemonade flavors to choose if you require a gluten-free beverage:
- Black Cherry Lemonade
- Mango Lemonade
- Raspberry Lemonade
- Cranberry Lemonade
- Margarita Style
- Moscow Mule
- Variety Packs without Strawberry
- Strawberry Hard and Harder Lemonade
- Green Apple Light
- Variety Packs with Strawberry
Checking the product packaging to ensure you avoid the Strawberry and Green Apple flavors is the safest approach if you need to stick to a gluten-free diet.
Mike’s Hard Lemonade flavors that meet the FDA requirements for gluten-free labeling are not certified gluten-free through programs like the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) or the Celiac Support Association (CSA).
The company conducts its own testing to verify the gluten content meets regulations for gluten-free status. But Mike’s does not pursue third-party certifications through programs that require strict audits and protocols to prevent cross-contamination.
So while consumer reports indicate most flavors are well-tolerated, there is no independent GFCO or CSA gluten-free certification to provide added assurance.
It’s important for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity to be aware that while most Mike’s Hard Lemonade drinks are gluten-free, precautions are still advised.
First, it’s essential to read labels carefully and avoid the Strawberry Hard/Harder Lemonade and Green Apple Light flavors that contain gluten. Also, know that facilities are not dedicated gluten-free operations, so there is some minimal risk of cross-contamination.
For those who are highly gluten-sensitive, it may be safest to avoid Mike’s Hard Lemonades altogether given the lack of independent gluten-free certification. People with celiac disease should watch for symptoms that could indicate an issue like abdominal pain or digestive upset.
In general, most individuals with gluten intolerance do fine with Mike’s Hard Lemonades labeled gluten-free. But taking precautions around flavor choices and potential cross-contamination is still important for gluten-free diets.
Contacting the company
Mike’s Hard Lemonade has detailed allergen information readily available on their website. But if additional questions arise, customers can also reach out to the company directly.
To contact Mike’s Hard Lemonade for the latest information on ingredients or the gluten-free status of products, you can call their consumer care line or email them:
- Phone: 1-888-888-5856
- Email: [email protected]
The company states they will provide information to consumers about potential allergen risks upon request. So direct contact with the manufacturer can help answer any unresolved questions.
The bottom line
Most flavors of Mike’s Hard Lemonade are gluten-free except for Strawberry Hard/Harder Lemonade and Green Apple Light varieties. Mike’s tests their beverages to ensure gluten levels fall below 20ppm for gluten-free classification.
There is still some risk of cross-contamination as facilities are not dedicated gluten-free plants. So precautions should be taken around flavor selection and potential trace gluten exposure.
Overall, Mike’s Hard Lemonade labeled gluten-free appears safe for most gluten-intolerant individuals based on consumer reports. But avoiding the two flavors with gluten-containing ingredients and being aware of manufacturing risks is important for gluten-free diets.
- Most Mike’s Hard Lemonade flavors are labeled gluten-free by the company, except for Strawberry and Green Apple options.
- Gluten-containing ingredients malted barley and maltodextrin are used in the non-gluten-free Strawberry and Green Apple flavors.
- Mike’s conducts proprietary testing to ensure gluten levels in gluten-free flavors fall below 20ppm based on FDA regulations.
- There is potential for minimal cross-contamination since facilities are not dedicated gluten-free plants.
- Most individuals with gluten intolerance can safely consume flavors labeled gluten-free, but precautions around flavors and manufacturing are still advised.