Mike’s Lite Hard Lemonade Update - Celiac Disease
Jun 19 2012

Mike’s Lite Hard Lemonade Update

Last week a reader asked me if Mike’s Lite Hard Lemonade was still gluten-free, as the package no longer said so.  I had noticed this myself a while ago, but had forgotten to look into what had happened.  Below is the old label that said “gluten-free” on the box. 

I don’t have a picture of the new box, but the “gluten-free” is no longer there.  I am not sure why, as when I visited the Mike’s Hard Lemonade website, this is what I found:

    • Are your products gluten-free?

      We’re glad you asked! Our products were put through highly sensitive tests that indicate they are gluten-free. The ELISA test, the most stringent test currently available for gluten quantification, indicates that they contain less than 5 parts per million (ppm) of gluten, meaning they can be considered gluten-free. The results indicate that the products also tested well below the FDA’s current proposed limit of 20ppm for a product to be considered gluten-free.

    • How have the lite products been tested to prove they are gluten-free?

      Fun fact: two mike’s employees – our directors of quality assurance and compliance – have gluten allergies themselves and have been highly involved in our gluten-free testing to ensure we’re offering an authentic and high quality gluten-free product. mike’s lite hard lemonade and mike’s lite cranberry lemonade were tested in February 2011 through the University of Nebraska’s Food Allergy Research and Resource Program using two different methods – including the ELISA test, the most stringent test currently available for gluten quantification. Test results show that both lite products contain less than 5 parts per million (ppm) of gluten, less than the 20 ppm needed to be considered gluten-free.

I was pleased to see this as I like to drink Mike’s Lite Hard Lemonade on occasion, especially in the summer.  Nothing beats an ice cold drink on a hot, humid summer day. 

Since this has come up, I think it is crucial to bring up the importance of continuing to check all of your products.  Just because something is gluten-free today does not mean it will be gluten-free tomorrow.  In addition to packaging and label changes, suppliers change.  These are all things that we, the consumers, need to keep on top of in order to ensure that we are as safe as we possibly can be. 

Article Written by:

Kyle Eslick is the founder of Gluten Free Media, as well as the creator of the popular Celiac Support Groups page. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+!


  1. Kristin says:

    What confuses me are these two sentences from the above paragraphs:

    1) Our products were put through highly sensitive tests that indicate they are gluten-free.

    2). Mike’s lite hard lemonade and mike’s lite cranberry lemonade were tested in February 2011

    So, does that mean that ALL of their products are GF (as #1 implies) or does it mean that only the *lite* versions are GF (as #2 implies)….?

  2. Interesting…I read about this last week on the canadian celiac assoc. FB page. Here’s what they had to say:

    In the US, all single-size beverages like Mike’s and coolers have malt added because it changes the tax rate.

    because in the US and Quebec, you can sell beer and wine in grocery stores and convenience stores. If they add malt to the vodka and rum coolers, it makes them a “malt beverage” and so can be sold in convenience stores.

    So, maybe double check with them, not their website? Sounds like this is a new change, and their website may not be up to date yet? I’m not sure…

  3. Kim says:

    Thanks! Always good to know, as I have historically avoided all of these types of drinks, as I assumed they had a grain base. I just might pick up a pack…it’s gonna be a hot week!

  4. Katie C says:

    Yesterday while at my grocery store, I noticed the Mike’s Lite Cranberry still says gluten free on it.

  5. Jennifer says:

    So, does this mean that all of the Mike’s products are GF even if they aren’t labeled as such on the box?

  6. dave says:

    i contacted them, here you go everyone !

    Thanks for contacting mike’s. Our ‘gluten-free’ tag was removed from the label due to legal restrictions on gluten labelling and alcohol. Good news though, our drinks are still gluten-free! Those restrictions have very recently been resolved and we’re considering placing the tag back on the label. For your info, the following information still applies to all of our products, not just the two lite flavors. Enjoy!

    mike’s hard lemonade products available in the United States are lemon malt based beverages (fermented barley beer malt). Highly sensitive tests indicate that mike’s products do not contain any traces of gluten. Our malt beer base is fermented and processed using a highly technical and proprietary, multi stage filtration process which removes all gluten.

    Our products were sent to the Food Allergy Research Program at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln to be analyzed using the R5 ELISA test which is currently the industry recognized test for gluten. To be considered gluten free, products must test below 20 ppm (parts per million). In this test one ppm is equal to one milligram of gluten per kilogram of sample. The lowest the R5 ELISA test can quantify is 5 ppm. Our mike’s hard lemonade products tested below the limit of quantification, meaning less than 5 ppm, less than the 20 ppm needed to qualify as gluten free.

    Because the R5 ELISA tests cannot quantify below 5 ppm, please consult with your doctor if you are extremely sensitive so the best decision can be made for you in the very slight chance that there would be unquantifiable traces of gluten in the product.

    mike’s Consumer Relations

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