Which hard seltzer is gluten free?

Hard seltzers have become increasingly popular over the past few years as a gluten-free, low calorie alternative to beer. For those avoiding gluten, it can be tricky to identify truly gluten-free options among the multitude of hard seltzer brands and flavors on the market. The key is understanding what ingredients go into hard seltzers and how different companies address potential cross-contamination issues in their facilities. This article provides a comprehensive overview of which major hard seltzer brands are gluten-free as well as considerations around avoiding gluten from manufacturing processes.

What Makes Hard Seltzer Gluten Free?

Hard seltzers are made by fermenting sugar into alcohol using yeast or through a natural fermentation process. The alcohol base is then carbonated and flavored. The key gluten-free ingredients in most hard seltzers are:

  • Carbonated water
  • Alcohol (usually a gluten-free source like sugar cane)
  • Natural flavors
  • Fruit juice

Since hard seltzers lack gluten-containing ingredients like malt, wheat, barley, and rye, they are inherently gluten-free. However, cross-contamination during production in facilities that also process gluten-containing beers is a potential issue to be aware of with some brands.

Why Does Cross-Contamination Matter?

For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, consuming even small amounts of gluten can cause issues. Most brands that label their hard seltzers as “gluten-free” test the final products to verify they contain less than 20ppm of gluten. However, some individuals require a stricter gluten-free diet of less than 10ppm or even 5ppm, so extra diligence is required.

When evaluating hard seltzer brands, understanding their manufacturing process and whether they produce other gluten-containing products in the same facilities is important to assess cross-contamination risks.

Major Hard Seltzer Brands & Gluten-Free Status

Below is an overview of the top hard seltzer brands, evaluating the gluten-free status of their products based on available information from the companies:

White Claw Hard Seltzer

Gluten-Free Status: Gluten-free

White Claw states that all of their hard seltzer products are gluten-free and tested to contain less than 10 ppm of gluten. Their products are produced in facilities that do not process any gluten-containing ingredients.

Truly Hard Seltzer

Gluten-Free Status: Gluten-free

Truly hard seltzers are certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), meaning they contain less than 10ppm of gluten. They are produced in dedicated gluten-free facilities, with no gluten used on site.

Bud Light Seltzer

Gluten-Free Status: Gluten-free

Anheuser-Busch states that Bud Light Seltzer is certified gluten-free, containing less than 10ppm of gluten. However, they do produce other gluten-containing beer products in their facilities. Individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity may want to exercise caution.

Corona Hard Seltzer

Gluten-Free Status: Gluten-free

Corona Hard Seltzer is considered gluten-free, under the FDA’s less than 20ppm of gluten standard. Corona recommends those with celiac disease or sensitivity exercise caution as its seltzers are produced in facilities that also process barley and wheat for beers.

Smirnoff Seltzer

Gluten-Free Status: Gluten-free

Smirnoff Seltzer is considered gluten-free, produced with all gluten-free ingredients and processing controls to prevent cross-contamination. However, Smirnoff does warn that its hard seltzers are produced in facilities that also process gluten ingredients.

Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer

Gluten-Free Status: Gluten-free

Bon & Viv states its seltzers are brewed without gluten ingredients. The company also notes its products are processed on shared equipment alongside other products containing gluten. Individual sensitivity should be considered.

Smaller & Niche Hard Seltzer Brands

Beyond the major national brands, there are many smaller craft hard seltzer producers. When evaluating the gluten-free status of these niche seltzers, it’s important to check labels and contact the companies directly if allergen information is unclear.

Some specialty hard seltzer brands focused on all-natural and gluten-free claims include:

  • CELSIUS Hard Seltzer
  • Two Robbers Hard Seltzer
  • Lift Bridge Hard Seltzer
  • Wild Basin Hard Seltzer

Many ciders, although not labeled as hard seltzers, can also offer gluten-free boozy carbonated options, like:

  • Angry Orchard
  • Bold Rock
  • Crispin
  • Woodchuck

Those with gluten concerns should always double-check on the cider ingredients and production processes as well before consuming.

Making the Most Gluten-Free Friendly Choice

When comparing hard seltzers for the gluten-free diet, the ideal option would come from a brand that:

  • Uses all gluten-free ingredients
  • Is produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility
  • Is third-party tested to verify gluten-free status

This level of control greatly reduces the risk of any cross-contamination.

Among the major national brands, White Claw specifically advertises its production in a gluten-free facility and third-party testing for less than 10ppm of gluten. This makes it one of the top choices for peace of mind around avoiding trace gluten.

Truly also offers third-party certification for its gluten-free status. However, those highly sensitive should note that it does share a parent company with other beer brands that contain gluten in their portfolio.

Should Those with Celiac Disease Drink Hard Seltzers?

Ultimately, individuals with celiac disease need to make their own judgment call based on their comfort level with different facilities and processes. Those managing celiac disease should consult with a doctor before incorporating any alcohol products, including hard seltzers, into their gluten-free diet.

Some with celiac choose to avoid hard seltzers labeled “gluten-free” that are produced in shared facilities altogether, opting for dedicated brands instead. Others feel comfortable with the testing and protocols from major brands like White Claw and Truly that validate gluten amounts below 10ppm.

Proper allergen protocols and sanitation in shared facilities can make cross-contamination risks extremely low. But for celiac patients, even minute, sporadic exposure can be damaging long-term. Getting a physician’s perspective is advised.

Drinking Hard Seltzers on a Gluten-Free Diet

While most major hard seltzer brands are considered gluten-free to a detectable level below 20ppm, precautions are still necessary for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Here are some best practices when selecting and enjoying hard seltzers on a gluten-free diet:

  • Review company websites and packaging for any allergen warnings
  • Look for certified labels from reputable third-party testing organizations like GFCO
  • Inquire with brand customer service on their production processes if concerned
  • Start by trying brands produced in dedicated gluten-free facilities
  • Consume flavored seltzers over non-flavored to lower cross-contamination risks from malt-based flavors
  • Check for changes in formulations regularly, as ingredients can change over time
  • Never assume products are 100% gluten-free; always verify first

With proper diligence reading labels and understanding manufacturing environments, most individuals can safely enjoy popular hard seltzer brands as part of a gluten-free lifestyle. However, those with celiac disease should take extra precautions and consult their doctor with any concerns before consuming.

Should I Stick to major brands?

Both major and niche hard seltzer brands can offer gluten-free options, but the larger national producers tend to have more established protocols, testing procedures, and third-party certifications around meeting gluten standards. Startling off with widely available brands like White Claw, Truly, or Bud Light Seltzer that explicitly label products “gluten-free” and outline their processes can provide added assurance.

However, there are some great craft hard seltzer companies to try as well. Just be diligent about understanding how they address gluten-free production. Reaching out directly via email or social media is a great way to get answers when information is unclear on packaging.

Finding Gluten-Free Options at Bars & Restaurants

Ordering hard seltzers at bars, restaurants, and other social occasions requires some added awareness as well:

  • Ask about what hard seltzer brands are served and which have gluten-free labeling
  • Request a sealed bottle, rather than draft hard seltzer to limit tap contamination
  • Ask that your glass is washed thoroughly before pouring if draft is your only option
  • Avoid flavored hard seltzers with malt-based flavors added at the bar
  • Inspect fruit garnishes to ensure no malt-dusted rims or gluten-containing toppings are added
  • Consider bringing your own preferred brand to social gatherings for peace of mind

With rising popularity, most bars now carry some gluten-free hard seltzer options like White Claw, Truly, and Bon & Viv. But it never hurts to inquire about the specifics brands stocked and voice any dietary needs to your bartender to prevent cross-contamination.

Delicious Mixes & Cocktail Ideas with Hard Seltzers

Beyond sipping plain hard seltzers, you can also mix up some delicious cocktails using gluten-free ingredients:

Fruity Seltzer Spritzer

Mix seltzer with 100% fruit juice and serve over ice. Some tasty flavor combos are:

  • White peach seltzer with orange juice
  • Raspberry lime seltzer with grapefruit juice
  • Black cherry seltzer with pomegranate juice

Seltzer Sangria

Combine seltzer with red wine, sliced fruit, fruit liqueur if desired, and serve chilled. Try with:

  • Peach white wine + peach seltzer + peaches + peach liqueur
  • Berry red wine + lime seltzer + mixed berries + Chambord
  • Pineapple white wine + coconut seltzer + mango + pineapple rum

Fizzy Vodka Seltzer

Mix seltzer with vodka and fruit purees. Some suggestions:

  • Blackberry seltzer + vodka + blackberry puree
  • Grapefruit seltzer + vodka + grapefruit puree
  • Pineapple seltzer + vodka + mango puree

Seltzer Mojito

Muddle mint leaves and lime wedges with sugar or honey, add rum and seltzer. Try with:

  • Black cherry seltzer
  • Grapefruit seltzer
  • Peach seltzer

Let your imagination run wild mixing and matching flavored seltzers into endless cocktail combinations!

The Bottom Line

Most major hard seltzer brands offer gluten-free options, but it is important to verify production processes and any potential cross-contamination risks. White Claw and Truly are safe choices, using gluten-free ingredients and facilities. Those with celiac disease should practice extra caution and consult doctors before consuming. Carefully read labels, reach out to manufacturers with questions, and take precautions when ordering seltzers at bars and restaurants. With proper diligence, hard seltzers can be enjoyed as part of a gluten-free lifestyle.

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