When I saw Kim’s post about Mike’s Lite Hard Lemonade possibly being gluten-free, I was over the moon. I knew that Estrella Damm made their gluten-free beer with barley and that the processing process they used rendered the finished beverage gluten-free. Even Jules Shepard, who loves GIG certified products as much as I do, loves Daura gluten-free beer – a beer made from barley. Yes, it’s possible folks. If you don’t believe it, you have the choice not to consume the products, of course. No one has any business telling anyone except their own minor children what they can and can’t eat – or drink.
Anyway, back to Mike’s. I found the Lite Lemonade at Publix and bought it. I had one bottle that night and it was not very tasty as they use some sweetener derived from Stevia which I can’t stand the taste of. It was much too sweet for me so I added fresh lemon juice which helped tone the sweetness down, but ultimately didn’t overwhelm the taste of the sweetener. I much prefer the original Mike’s Hard Lemonade so I called the company to check the status of it. To my surprise, I found out the barley malt the company is using to make their malt beverages has been gluten-free since 2005. This makes me quite happy and annoyed because I would have liked to have had that knowledge before now.
In further speaking to Gretchen Smith at Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co., I learned that the only finished products sent to the University for Elisa 5 testing are the two new lite items which are labeled gluten-free. However, for the other malt beverages, the malt has been tested and shown also to be gluten-free as well. Even though the finished products for the other items in the line have not been tested, no gluten containing ingredients are added to the gluten-free malt. Smith added that since some people are extra sensitive to gluten, they need consider that there is no way to know if the Lite gluten-free products contain 1-4 ppm of gluten since the test only goes to 5 and the gluten doesn’t register on the test at all. Either way, the product is well below the accepted standard of 20 ppm. Here the testing info from the Mike’s Hard Lemonade Website:
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. Read more HERE.
So, I’m going to try some of the other beverages from the company that don’t use any derivatives of Stevia as sweeteners and are not currently labeled gluten-free. My guess is they will be just as good as I remember them being over five years ago. I’m very excited to be able to enjoy these items again! After consuming the new product, I had no issues except for the overly (unpleasant) sweet taste with the Lite Lemonade from Mike’s. As always, everyone has to make their own decisions about what products to consume and avoid.
I’ll report back after trying the other items from Mike’s that I know I like – or at least I used to like years ago. To see if Mike’s products are sold in your area, you can check their product locator page. Hooray for Mike’s!!!!