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The Rise of Gluten-Free Beer: A Comprehensive Guide

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Gluten-free beverages are an integral part of the menu of any restaurant. They cater to the needs of a growing group of people - those cicerones struggling with gluten intolerance, allergies, or celiac disease. 

From gluten-free cocktail options and non-alcoholic gluten-free drinks to gluten-free beer in the beer on tap selection, there’s a lot you can serve at your restaurant. The important thing is to find drinks that fit the concept of your business, pair well with the foods you serve, and you can supply with ease. 

Great food and beverage pairings, no matter if vegan, gluten-free, paleo, or else, can boost the reputation of your restaurant and even aid you in earning a Michelin Star! Creating a great customer experience is going to take you far. 

If you want to offer an incredible experience to your guests, especially to those who can’t have gluten but love beer, you need to explore the gluten-free beer options. Make sure you know about proper storage, beer expiration, and how many beers are in a keg. Let’s look closer at this topic and see what’s available, what you can do, and more!

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What Gluten-Free Beers Are Made Of?

Gluten-free beer is made of ingredients that don’t contain gluten. These ingredients can be millet, rice, sorghum, buckwheat, or corn. 

People who suffer from celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or allergies need to exclude gluten from their diet, which immediately limits their choices. The reaction of the body to gluten is triggered by some proteins in the grains that are most commonly used to make beer. 

Hordein, which is found in barley, and gliadin, found in wheat, are both types of gluten that can trigger reactions. For that reason, beer lovers need to stick to gluten-free beer in order to enjoy a cold one without feeling bad afterward. 

Key Takeaway: Gluten-free beer is made from special grains that don’t contain gluten. There’s also the low-gluten beer that can be consumed by people with intolerance. Overall, gluten-free and low-gluten beers should be seen on all restaurant menu as the number of customers looking for such options are increasing.

What’s The Difference Between Gluten-Free Beer, Low-Gluten Beer, and Standard Beer?

Gluten-free beers contain no gluten at all. The grains gluten-free beer is made of don’t contain the protein complex that makes regular beer filled with gluten. 

Low-gluten beer, on the other hand, does contain some gluten but it’s below the threshold of 20ppm. This makes low-gluten beer suitable for people who have gluten intolerance and are not on an entirely gluten-free diet. 

As for standard beer made of the most commonly used grains, you can expect levels of gluten above 20 ppm (parts per million). In case a person is gluten intolerant, allergic, or has celiac disease, consuming regular beer can trigger several reactions. From hives or skin rash to nausea, indigestion, vomiting or diarrhea, and even runny or stuffy nose - there are many unpleasant side effects you can experience. 

How Is Gluten-Free and Low-Gluten Beer Produced?

Generally, there are two different ways to make gluten-free beers or beers will low gluten amounts - using gluten-free ingredients and decreasing the gluten amounts during the brewing process. 

First Method of Brewing Beer

Using ingredients that are naturally gluten-free is a sure way to brew beer suitable for people with intolerance, allergies, or diseases triggered by gluten. Such ingredients include sorghum, millet, buckwheat, rice, quinoa, or maize. Different beer manufacturers or beer brands choose to use various options to create different styles and tastes of beer.

Second Method of Brewing Beer

The second method, which is commonly used, is to produce beer using a gluten-containing malt. It can be made of wheat, barley, or rye. Then, there is a specific process used to decrease the gluten content to below 20 ppm. One of the ways used to decrease the amount of gluten in the beer is by using an enzyme at the start of the fermentation process to break down the gluten protein.

The end result in this situation is low-gluten beer, suitable for most intolerant people but not for those struggling with celiac disease. 

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Why Should Restaurants Offer Gluten-Free Beers?

Recent research shows that about 18 million people in the United States only struggle with gluten sensitivities. This is what caused the rise of gluten-free products and people switching to a diet free of gluten. 

These statistics alone should give you, as a restaurant owner or business owner in the hospitality industry, a great reason to add some gluten-free beers to your menu. Having a diverse restaurant beverage inventory will help you satisfy a large range of customers.  

Catering to the needs of people with intolerances is not the only reason to add gluten-free beer to your menu or even create a separate gluten-free menu. An increasing amount of people are trying out different diets (like keto and gluten-free, vegan, and paleo) and also like seeing diversity in terms of dishes and beverages when they visit a restaurant. 

From CBD-infused drinks, specialty coffee, and matcha tea, all the way to vegan drinks (including vegan wine), and signature cocktails - you should create a unique menu that will meet the needs and wants of many. Gluten-free beer is another type of drink that will enrich your beverage program in a very good way. 

Supplying Gluten-Free Beer and Keeping Inventory

To serve the customers at your restaurant quality gluten-free beer requires finding good suppliers. Take the time to research different options and to speak with them. Make sure that all beer is marked appropriately - as gluten-free or low-gluten beer. 

Once you figure out the suppliers, it’s time to do inventory organization. To ensure the smooth operations of your restaurant business, which will lead to greater customer satisfaction, you should follow the best practices for keeping inventory items organized. 

Another very important thing to consider is using beverage inventory software to stay on top of everything. Software, such as BinWise Pro will help you organize your inventory, order with ease, send invoices, and even keep an eye on customer behavior to recognize the types of beer and brands people prefer the most. 

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Frequently Asked Questions about Gluten-Free Beer

If this gluten-free beer guide we shared with you so far was not enough and you have additional questions, check the paragraphs below to get some more answers. 

Are There Any Popular Gluten-Free Beer Brands?

There are some worldwide popular beer brands that offer gluten-free beers. They are:

  • English Pale Ale by Autumn Brewing Company (Seaham, UK)
  • G-Free (Pilsner) by St. Peter’s Brewery (Bungay, UK)
  • Buck Wild Pale Ale by Alpenglow Beer Company (California, USA) 
  • Third Contact IPA by Divine Science Brewing (California, USA)
  • Celia Saison by Ipswich Ale Brewery (Massachusetts, USA)
  • Pyro American Pale Ale by Burning Brothers Brewing (Minnesota, USA)
  • Redbridge Lager by Anheuser-Busch (Missouri, USA)
  • Felix Pilsner by Bierly Brewing (Oregon, USA)
  • Glutenator IPA by Epic Brewing Company (Utah, USA)
  • Copperhead Copper Ale by Alt Brew (Wisconsin, USA) 
  • Pale Ale by Wild Polly Brewing Co. (Western Australia, Australia)
  • Ginger Beer by Billabong Brewing (Western Australia, Australia)
  • Forager Amber Pale Ale by Whistler Brewing Company (British Columbia, Canada)
  • Massager Millet Lager by Microbrasserie Nouvelle France (Quebec, Canada)
  • Gluten-Free Pale Ale by Scott’s Brewing Company (Oamaru, New Zealand)

Is Gluten-Free Beer More Expensive?

As gluten-free and craft beers are typically produced in smaller batches, prices are usually higher than those of regular kinds of beer. 

But despite the fact consumer may have to pay a bit more, the benefits of drinking gluten-free beer, as well as the taste qualities of craft beers make it all worth it. 

What Are Some Good Gluten-Free Beer and Food Pairing Options?

Gluten-free beers go well with everything you would typically have with regular beer. However, if you experience intolerance or allergies, you have to select gluten-free food options, too. 

What you would typically see on a beer and food pairing menu is pizza, fries, steak, spicy foods, fruity desserts, burgers, and sausage, as well as seafood dishes like sushi and fish.

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