Before you pop it, lime it, and drink it, you might like to know if Corona is gluten-free! We have all the info.
Corona beer comes in several varieties- Extra, Light, Familiar, and Premier- but all are made with malted barley, which naturally contains gluten. So if you’re wondering if Corona is gluten free…
SHORT ANSWER: NO!
No, Corona is not a gluten-free beer. If you are following a strictly gluten-free diet, opt for craft beers intentionally made from gluten-free ingredients.
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Is Corona Beer Gluten Free?
Corona Extra (Corona’s original beer) is a pale lager produced by Mexican company Grupo Modelo. Corona was first introduced in Mexico in 1925 and came to the US in the 1980s. Today, Corona is the top-selling imported beer here in the US. It has a fresh, light flavor that matches its beachy image.
Corona is made from four simple ingredients:
- Barley malt
- Non-malted cereals
Unfortunately, the #2 ingredient is barley malt, which is a primary source of naturally-occurring gluten.
Corona beer is not gluten-free. The Corona USA website states, “Corona Extra, Corona Light, Corona Familiar, and Corona Premier are made from malted barley which naturally contains gluten. The fermentation process significatively lowers its content, however, there are traces of gluten in Corona Extra, Corona Light, Corona Familiar, and Corona Premier.”
Celiac patients and anyone else hoping to avoid gluten should pass on the Corona beers listed above. Corona hard seltzers are fermented from sugar and are gluten-free, but Corona beer does contain gluten, at least in trace amounts.
Why Isn’t Beer Gluten Free?
Beer starts with a mash that normally contains wheat, barley, or rye, all sources of gluten. Although much of the gluten content may be diminished or removed throughout the process of brewing and fermenting, beers that begin with gluten grains are not considered gluten-free.
If you have Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, many beers will be off-limits, but you don’t have to give up beer entirely unless you want to! There are certain craft labels brewing beer from gluten-free ingredients. Read on for suggestions!
What Major Beers Are Gluten-Free?
The big name, regular beer- such as Miller Lite, Budweiser, Bud Light, Heineken, Coors, Coors Light, Michelob Ultra, and Corona- all contain gluten ingredients in their mash bill.
Many craft labels are brewing gluten-free beer from ingredients such as sorghum, rice, buckwheat, and millet, but you’re not likely to see their ads during the Super Bowl! Most gluten-free craft beers (such as Ghostfish Brewing out of Washington and Holidaily Brewing from Colorado) are only available in their local markets right now, but there are a few available for sale at health food stores such as Whole Foods or for order online. These more widely available gluten free beers include the following:
- Redbridge (made from sorghum)
- Bard’s Tale (made from sorghum)
- Glutenberg (millet, buckwheat, and corn)
- New Grist (sorghum and rice)
- Schnitzer Brau (made from millet)
Of all the gluten-free beers, Redbridge is the easiest to find nationwide. The sorghum brew was introduced by Anheuser-Busch in 2006 and became the first nationally available sorghum beer. According to the Anheuser-Busch website, “Anheuser-Busch worked closely with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) during the development of Redbridge to get a better understanding of the needs of consumers who are leading gluten-free or wheat-free lifestyles.” Love that!
Beer that is labeled gluten-free meets the FDA guidelines of less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. Gluten-free beer is made from mash ingredients that do not include gluten grains, and it is bottled in a facility free from cross contamination with beverages that do contain gluten.
Some beer is labeled as “gluten-reduced beer” or “gluten-removed beer,” meaning that the beer was made from mash that included gluten grains, but the gluten was filtered out before it was bottled. This could work for someone with a mild gluten aversion, but for those with Celiac disease, the best way to avoid intestinal damage (not to mention painful symptoms) is to drink only 100% gluten-free beers.
Some sources claim that Corona Extra contains less than 20 parts per million of gluten, which is the FDA standard for gluten-free. However, Corona is made from a mash that includes gluten-containing malted barley, and gluten is difficult to measure in fermented beverages.
Corona, like other standard beers, does contain traces of gluten that could be harmful to anyone with Celiac or a non-Celiac gluten intolerance. Even if physical symptoms are not apparent, this small amount of gluten will cause intestinal damage in Celiac patients.
Corona Light, like other Corona beers, is not gluten free. Corona is brewed from a mash that includes malted barley, a natural source of gluten. Even after brewing and fermentation, Corona Light will contain some gluten, so it is best avoided by anyone with Celiac disease or a non-Celiac gluten intolerance. As an alternative, look for specialty craft beer in your area that is brewed from non-gluten grains such as millet, rice, and/or sorghum.
All Corona beer, including Corona Premier, does contain gluten. Because they are brewed from a mash that includes malted barley, these bottled beers will contain at least some gluten, making it an unsafe choice for anyone with Celiac, gluten sensitivities, or a wheat allergy.
Gluten-free craft beer is available, particularly in the local market where it is brewed. It may take a little searching, but these GF craft beers are popping up all over the United States!
Corona Extra beer, the original Corona, does contain gluten because it is made with malted barley (a natural source of gluten) as a main ingredient. Although gluten may be reduced during the brewing process, the end product still contains too much gluten to be considered Celiac safe.
While Corona and all other traditional beers are made from gluten grain, gluten-free beer is becoming much more common at smaller breweries, and Anheuser-Busch has a gluten-free, sorghum beer called Red bridge with national distribution.
Actually, yes! Corona beer contains gluten because it is made with malted barley, but there are several other Corona beverages that are gluten-free.
According to Corona USA‘s online FAQs, “Corona Hard Seltzer, Corona Seltzerita, and Corona Hard Seltzer Limonada are fermented from sugar, and are gluten free.”
The Bottom Line
Corona is not a gluten-free beer.
Corona beer is brewed from a mash that includes malted barley, and malted barley is a gluten-containing grain. This goes for the original Corona Extra along with Corona Light, Corona Familiar, and Corona Premier.
If you have Celiac, you’ll want to pass on Corona and select a gluten-free craft beer made from sorghum, millet, rice, and/or buckwheat if it’s available in your area.
If gluten free craft beer is hard to come by in your area, or if it’s simply not to your liking, there are other gluten-free choices available!
These non-beer alcoholic beverages are made without gluten grains, so they are almost sure to be gluten-free (but always check labels to verify):
- Hard ciders
- Hard seltzer
Other beverages such as scotch, vodka, whiskey, gin, and bourbon do originate from gluten grains, but the gluten protein is removed during the distillation process, so the final product is generally considered safe for those with Celiac or gluten sensitivity. That’s good news for our gluten-free people!