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Discussion About Liquor

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A discussion of liquor has popped up on our local gluten-free Facebook page - someone asserted that bourbon is not gluten-free, and I responded that, as far as I knew, all liquors (as long as they have nothing added to them), because they are distilled, are gluten-free, no matter what they are made from. In fact, there is a great and detailed article here:

Of course, someone else disagreed with me, and said that after consuming egg nog with bourbon she was sick for days and described Celiac-reactive symptoms.

She said she contacted the distillery, and that they said a Celiac reaction was possible (she didn't provide any details about what she actually asked or how they actually responded, and I doubt the person with whom she talked understood Celiac), but didn't provide any other details.

Instead of arguing the point, I thought I'd ask for people's knowledge and opinions here. I think she likely was glutened from something else, or that someone used a cheap liquor with a malt additive.

Ultimately, it's a non-issue for me, because I don't drink whiskey, bourbon, rye, or scotch, and have no desire to in the future. But I do get concerned when folks assert having had problems with something in a venue that will heavily influence other people when that might not be accurate...


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While most celiacs will tolerate distilled gluten with no issues a few of us do react. I don't know why but do know I am one of them. I stick to clear rum, potato vodka or wine on the rare occasions that I do have a drink.


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Some celiacs react to lower levels of gluten than others. Some find that they need to stick to foods made in a facility where gluten grains are not present at all. Since a distillation of a gluten grain cannot be done in a facility where gluten grains are not present, that could indicate an issue for these super sensitive celiacs. The distillation process should remove gluten, but cross contamination could occur elsewhere in the facility since gluten is present there. The amounts would be very small and considered safe for the majority of celiacs.

Those of us sensitive to lower amounts may not realize at first what is going on. We may think that something is unsafe for celiacs because we react to it, and not realize that most don't. It takes awhile to figure this all out.


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