Is Jack Daniels Gluten Free?

The short answer is that Jack Daniels is not certified gluten free so it’s not recommended for those with Celiac’s Disease or strong immune responses to gluten. 

According to the Jack Daniels website, their whiskeys do not contain gluten. HOWEVER, they are also not certified gluten free.

This is likely because the whiskey is distilled from a mash that contains barley, which IS a gluten-containing grain. During the distillation process, the gluten proteins are mostly removed, but not always completely eliminated (trace elements can remain).

However, many people with gluten sensitivities may still be able to tolerate Jack Daniels whiskey. This is because the distillation process removes most of the gluten proteins, which are the part of the grain that triggers an immune response.

In fact, recent studies and rulings from the FDA confirm that most whiskey’s are indeed “free from gluten” and now can be labeled “crafted to remove gluten”. 

If you have Celiac’s, I wouldn’t want to risk it it on a whim. 

Personally, I have a sensitivity and I haven’t noticed any negative effects from consuming whiskey (unlike when I consume gluten-based foods). 

The Basics of Gluten in Whiskey

Let’s start with a little whiskey 101. Most whiskey lovers know that their favorite spirit is made from fermented grain mash, which typically includes gluten-rich grains such as barley, wheat, and rye. So, naturally, you might be wondering how whiskey could be gluten-free when it starts with these ingredients. 

Here’s the scoop: During the distillation process, the gluten proteins are left behind, as they are too large to pass through the still. This means that the final product, whiskey, should be free of gluten. However, for those with severe gluten sensitivities or celiac disease, minute traces of gluten may still be present, and it’s important to approach any whiskey with caution. 

The Distilling Process of Jack Daniel’s

  • Grain Selection: Jack Daniel’s distilling process begins with the selection of high-quality grains. The grains used in the process are corn, rye, and barley. The grains are ground into a fine powder and mixed with water to create a mash.
  • Fermentation: The mash is then cooked to convert the starches into sugars. Yeast is added to the mash to begin the fermentation process. The yeast consumes the sugars and produces alcohol. This process takes around 3-5 days.
  • Distillation: After fermentation, the mash is distilled in copper stills. The stills are heated to separate the alcohol from the mash. The first distillation produces a liquid called low wine. The low wine is then distilled a second time to produce a clear, high-proof spirit.
  • Filtering: Once the spirit has been distilled, it is filtered through charcoal made from sugar maple wood. This process is called the Lincoln County Process and is unique to Jack Daniel’s. The charcoal filtering removes impurities and gives the whiskey its distinctive smoothness.
  • Aging: The whiskey is then aged in new, charred oak barrels. The barrels are stored in warehouses where the temperature and humidity are carefully controlled. The aging process gives the whiskey its color, flavor, and aroma. Jack Daniel’s is aged for a minimum of four years before it is bottled and sold.

Ingredients and Gluten Content of Jack Daniel’s

According to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), distilled spirits, including whiskey, are considered gluten-free if they are made from gluten-containing grains but the gluten is removed during the distillation process. This means that the final product, including Jack Daniel’s, should contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.

Several independent studies  have tested Jack Daniel’s for gluten content, and the results have shown that the whiskey contains less than 20 ppm of gluten, which is considered safe for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

However, it’s important to note that everyone’s sensitivity to gluten is different, and some people may still experience symptoms after consuming products that contain less than 20 ppm of gluten. If you have a severe gluten allergy or celiac disease, it’s best to consult with your doctor or just avoid Jack Daniel’s altogether! 

Jack Daniel’s Gluten-Free Certification Status

Due to the complexities around the ingredients and distillation process, Jack Daniel’s doesn’t (and really can’t) label their products gluten free. Yet, with the recent rulings they could add the phrase “crafted or treated to remove gluten”. The quick answer is that Jack Daniel’s is not a certified gluten free product.

Further Reading on Jack Daniels:

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