Can I drink alcopops if I have Celiac Disease?

The term alcopops simply describes a term given to a beverage that:

  • contains distilled alcohol to which other ingredients are added like fruit juices and flavorings;
  • malt beverage with added fruit juices or flavorings added;
  • or beverages containing wine to which fruit juice and flavoring are added. Commonly known as a wine cooler.

These alcopops are also known as PPS – Pre-Packaged spirits or Premium Packaged spirits or RTD – ready to drink, FAB – flavored malt beverages.

These drinks have become popular with people that want a premixed drink in a can that is easy and convenient to consume. In the early 1980's, when alcopops first appeared on the market, it was assumed that the manufacturers were targeting underage drinking. This had been proven to be false and now RTD's or PPS's are enjoyed by a large cross section of the community.

What we need to look at is – do these RTD's or PPS's contain gluten?

To answer this question we must understand the process that alcohol takes during the distillation process. Alcohol is so highly processed that there is no detectable gluten in the finished product, even if the alcohol is derived from a grain that contains gluten i.e. wheat or barley. The proteins do not carry over to the distillation process and are therefore not present in the final product.


The only exception is beer and lager as this does contain gluten. For further information read our article on Beer.

Most of the alcopops in Europe and North America usually have between 4% and 7% of alcohol content and are sold in small bottles. Canada and Europe alcopops are pre-mixed spirits; popular ones are Bacardi Breezer (lemon, pineapple, lime, orange) and the Smirnoff ice range.

Some of the stronger pre-mixed drinks like Scotch and Cola, or Bacardi and Rum can be about 12.5% alcohol and are considered to be “hard” liquor.

If these drinks are based on basic alcohol spirits and flavorings, it will be gluten free. For example Scotch and Cola, Rum and Cola, Vodka and orange  (even if the alcohol originally comes from a grain as in the case of scotch whiskey).

Some people who suffer from celiac disease prefer to only drink alcohol that is derived from a gluten free source i.e. Rum (sugar or molasses) and vodka (potatoes), because they feel unwell if a grain alcohol is consumed. However, as discussed in this article, it is not necessary as the alcohol does not contain gluten, as the distilling process removes all traces of gluten, but as always, it is a personal decision and it is important to do what is right for your body. Maybe it is not the alcohol that is affecting you – maybe you might have an allergy to sugar or the flavorings.

To help make this decision the following information was obtained from “Dialgeo Products” who have a large range of ready to drink or pre-packaged spirits.

UDL Vodka Lemon Lime and Soda
UDL Vodka and Green Apple
UDL Vodka and Raspberry
UDL Vodka and Orange
UDL Vodka Lime and Soda
UDL Vodka and Passion fruit
UDL Ouzo and Cola
UDL Sambucca and Cola
Archers Aqua – All variants
Archers Spri – All variants
Bundaberg Rum – All variants
Smirnoff Mule
Bundaberg Red Rum
Bundaberg Rum – All variants


RTD'S The spirit used in the product is made by fermenting grain, the fermented grain is then distilled to obtain alcohol. Although the gluten does not come across in the distillation process we recommend that persons requiring a gluten free diet consult with a doctor before consuming these products as there may be other proteins present which could exacerbate celiac disease.
UDL Gin and Tonic
UDL Gin and Bitter Lemon
UDL Scotch and Cola
Johnnie Walker - All variants
Smirnoff Ice – All variants
Slate & Cola
Johnnie Walker – All variants
Gin – All brands
Smirnoff Vodka – All variants

The caution given by this company is typical of many when it comes to gluten containing statement. The companies are taking the responsibility and placing it back onto the consumer. This web site believes they are safe to consume on a gluten free diet.