If Mean Girls were written today, the iconic line “Is butter a carb?” spoken by the loathsome Regina George would probably change to “Is butter gluten-free?” You’ve probably heard the same wondered about vodka.
Good news: Russian vodka makers Stolichnaya (better known as Stoli) will be peddling gluten-free vodka in April, according to Reuters. But here’s the news flash: Vodka has always been gluten-free.
According to the Department of the Treasury, for something to considered be gluten-free, it must contain fewer than 20 parts per million of gluten.
Reuters reports that gluten, the complex protein found in wheat, barley and rye, which can damage the small intestines in some people with celiac disease, cannot withstand the distilling process. Celiac.com even states that all distilled alcohols — meaning gin, rum, tequila, soju and, yes, vodka — are free of gluten unless it is added after distillation.
According to Reuters, Stoli is the first established international brand to slap a gluten-free label on its bottles. Stoli’s chief executive of the U.S. branch, Patrick Piana, said that part of the impetus for Stoli Gluten-Free, made from 88 percent corn and 12 percent buckwheat (both gluten-free grains), is the trend among consumers.
“The reality today is that gluten-free is a lifestyle that more and more consumers are engaging in,” Piana said.
The end of the story is, that yes, Stoli is selling gluten-free vodka, but in reality, they always have been. For those who still don’t trust the science, there are potato- and grape-based vodkas, such as Chopin and Ciroc. Or, starting next month, Stoli.