Healthy options

Creating gluten freedom in our pubs

By Jessica Mason contact

- Last updated on GMT

Gluten-free beer

Related tags: Beer, Malt

Gluten-free beer used to be a bit of a contradiction and had a fairly poor reputation too.

But as most people know, brewing is about trial and perseverance. Brewing is also about experimentation, great ingredients and exacting standards of cleanliness. All of these things lend themselves well to gluten-free products where being extra savvy about cross contamination is vital.

Just as there is still work to be done to make beer more appealing to women​ there is also work to be done to treat all customers equally and fairly by giving them a range of options from which to choose, whatever their gender, dietary needs, or food and drink preferences.

There are now ways and means to brew some great tasting beer, either without malt barley, or by extracting the gluten.

There is still much discussion over whether gluten can cause bloating. But there are certainly some good hooks to broadening the debate about how ingredients affect our digestive system and, through this, how beer could be marketed much better to women. 

We need to learn more about ingredients and how our bodies work to help the image of both gluten-free products and beer in general. If we do, we will find that everyone (and that includes women) will become more interested.

We’ll be talking more about this at the Future Trends: Beer & Cider Summit which will be held in London on 22 June.

In the pub and beer industry as a whole we are battling with misleading and outdated perceptions of femininity and the much argued and contested role that beer-drinking is associated with weight gain.

There is very little evidence that beer causes bloating in people that are not gluten intolerant.

One thing we do know is that ingredients do​ matter.

More people are looking to see what they can and can’t eat and drink. For this reason beer needs to stay relevant to that group, before they drop beer from their repertoire completely.

For too long gluten-free production has been regarded as a lesser form of traditional recipes. It’s quite discriminatory to think of it in those terms, because it is simply another way of creating or recreating something. Beer is no different.

Let’s remember that nobody really asks for an allergy, they just have to get on with sidestepping ingredients and make sure they don’t make too many mistakes that would have an adverse effect. I imagine, if you have a keen eye on everything you consume while you’re going out to drink and dine, it isn’t going to help you relax. We need to help people relax.

Pubs should play the role of the butler who fetches the slippers. Not the butler who hides the slippers and watches while his master spends hours looking for them, getting more and more het up.

Pubs are meant to relieve stress and anxiety, not contribute towards it.

Related topics: Beer

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