What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein that is found in cereals such as wheat, barley and rye. It is commonly found in foods such as bread, pasta and cereals. It is also found in some alcohol – specifically, beer.
Clearly, if you don’t eat gluten, it is vital to know what drinks are safe for you to have, and which are not. Thankfully, there are now lots of different options for anyone who is intolerant to gluten (who have Coeliac disease), and for anyone who chooses to eat a gluten-free diet.
And one of the best options is definitely gluten free ciders.
The facts about cider and gluten:
The majority of ciders are gluten free. Ciders are made from fruits (typically apples, but now there are all sorts of ciders!) that are fermented with sugar and yeast. You’d think that the yeast in the brewing process would contain gluten, but this is not the case! Unlike the yeast that’s a byproduct of beer, the yeast used to make cider is naturally gluten-free.
However, that’s not to say that all ciders are gluten-free. Some ciders will contain trace amounts. This is because some ciders include additives and flavourings that may contain gluten. As well, some ciders are processed in an area that is also used to brew beer, which could lead to some gluten ending up in the cider.
So if you are Coeliac or eat a gluten-free diet, cider is a fabulous alternative to beer. But we still suggest that you look for a gluten-free label on all of your bottles of cider. If the label is there, then you’re good to go! If not, you may want to do some research or contact the cidery directly.
What other alcohol is gluten free?
Pure, distilled liquor is gluten-free – even if it is made from wheat, barley, or rye! This is because liquors, for example whiskey and Scotch, are distilled. This process removes any trace of the gluten, and is a different process to beer which is fermented. This is why whiskey and other liquors are generally safe for people who are avoiding gluten, and beer is not.
So Coeliacs can drink:
And many other liquors after they are distilled.
However, as with cider, it is important to remember that gluten is sometimes added after distillation, and there is the risk of cross-contamination in facilities that also process beers and other products with gluten. Once again, the best thing to do is to look for the gluten-free symbol on any bottle of alcohol, or to contact the company directly.
Our recommendations for gluten-free cider:
There are so many incredible gluten-free ciders in the UK, it can be hard to choose which ones to try! So we’ve narrowed the list down to three of our favourite cider brands that are suitable for anyone who is gluten-free.
For eight generations Celtic Marches have pressed and blended apples to create award-winning ciders. One of the UK’s largest self-sustaining single estate cider producers, they pride themselves in their genuine heritage, traceability, and sustainability. With their ‘Pip to Pint’ approach, Celtic Marches offer consistently delicious ciders which stay true to their craft and the respect they have for their provenance.
Their ciders are gluten-free and suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
They’re all about bringing together the best cider-making techniques, modern equipment, and Somerset cider apples to create a superior cider. Pulpt’s uncompromising attitude makes their ciders burst with depth and character. They really show the world how great cider can be!
All of their ciders are vegan and gluten-free.
Finally, Harry’s Cider makes award-winning artisan cider from delicious Somerset apples. Headed by cidermakers Harry and Toby Fry, they have won the Supreme British Champion Cider as well as the CAMRA National Gold Award. They are immensely proud to be part of the rich heritage and tradition of growing apples and making cider.
Every one of their ciders is gluten-free and suitable for vegetarians.
Clearly there are many incredible, gluten-free ciders now available in the UK, and many of the best can be found right here on Wildsip! You can learn more about our other British ciders here.
And if you’d like to know more about gluten and Coeliac disease, and what other gluten-free options are available to you, head to Coeliac UK.