Is Asahi Beer Gluten Free? Info and Alternative Brands

  • Asahi is a globally popular brand of Japanese beer. 
  • It has many beer varieties by Asahi. 
  • Asahi’s Peroni Nastro Azzurro (Gluten Free) is gluten-removed. 
  • The non-alcoholic Asahi Dry Zero is made of gluten free ingredients.

For beer lovers suffering from gluten intolerance or celiac disease, the struggle is real, and the question that currently occupies us is – Is Asahi beer gluten free?

Thankfully, many popular brands are trying to create beer varieties that celiac patients can enjoy without worrying about allergic reactions. Asahi is a brand of Japanese beer that everyone loves and fortunately, it has its gluten free varieties.

Asahi is globally known for its lager beer, Super Dry. It also owns other beer brands. Sadly, most of them contain gluten – except Peroni Nastro Azzurro (Gluten Free), a gluten removed beer variant by Asahi.

On the other hand, Asahi Dry Zero, a non-alcoholic beer, is made from naturally gluten free ingredients.

Is Asahi Beer Gluten Free?

Is Asahi Beer Gluten Free?

Beer lovers suffering from gluten intolerance or celiac disease battle the worst dilemma.

Every time they walk into a bar, hang out with friends, or simply watch football on TV alone, they wonder: should they choose healthy living – or embrace the discomfort of allergic reactions for their favorite drink?  

After all, there are plenty of beer varieties out there, tempting you with their delicious smell of malt and the bitter flavor with a sweet aftertaste.

Unfortunately, beer, made of malted cereals like barley and wheat, along with brewer’s yeast, contains gluten. So, beer is a strict no-no if you’re allergic to gluten. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay away from beer completely.

Many brands now try to cater to customers with gluten allergy or celiac disease.

They now make beer varieties using non-gluten grains or remove gluten in the end. One such brand is Asahi, the Japanese beer producer known across the world.

So, is Asahi beer gluten free? Asahi is known for its lager beer, Super Dry, made using barley malt and yeast, along with other ingredients. Clearly, it is not a gluten free beer option.

Asahi also has other beer varieties, like Soukai, Peroni, Cricketers Arms, Mountain Goat, Grolsch, NZ Pure, and Pilsner Urquell.

The only Asahi beer without gluten is Peroni Nastro Azzurro (Gluten Free)

The only Asahi beer without gluten is Peroni Nastro Azzurro

It’s not naturally gluten free as it’s made from barley. But it belongs to the category of gluten removed or gluten reduced beer.

This means that the beer is produced using gluten grains like regular beer, and the gluten content is reduced. 

Asahi’s Peroni Nastro Azzurro is made from barley to ensure that you get the same crisp taste of Peroni, an iconic beer in Italy. What sets it apart is that it is still claimed by the brand as “gluten free”.

Sounds confusing? At the end of the brewing, an enzyme is added to it to reduce gluten particles’ size.

The Italian Coeliac Association endorses Asahi’s Peroni Nastro Azzurro as a gluten free beer, although technically, it is gluten-reduced. Such types of beer are also referred to as gluten reduced.

Unlike the assortment of gluten free beer, this beer variety is made purely out of naturally gluten free grains. 

Unfortunately, such beer varieties fail to satiate the thirst of true beer connoisseurs because their taste and smell are quite different from original beer varieties.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro’s flavor is similar to any other beer due to the barley used in brewing it, along with Italian maize. But the gluten gets reduced. 

Besides Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Asahi has a non-alcoholic beer called Dry Zero. It is made with soybean peptide. No gluten grains like barley or wheat are listed on the product’s container.

It can be assumed that it is naturally gluten free. In fact, tests show that it contains less than the permitted gluten level. 

Is Gluten Removed Beer Safe?  

When it comes to beer for celiacs, there are two beer varieties that you can choose from:

  • gluten free (GF)
  • gluten removed or gluten reduced (GR)

You have probably understood the difference already. Here is a complete explanation of how the two are brewed in case you are still a little confused. 

Gluten free beer

Comes with the GF label, is brewed using a recipe that does not involve any gluten grain. Crops like rice, corn, millet, sorghum, buckwheat, quinoa, and more are used in making this beer.

This process doesn’t add gluten to the beer, though brewer yeast might be the source of gluten. 

Gluten free beer is regulated by the FDA. The beer gets its approval from the FDA only if it meets the regulations of the agency and contains less than 20 ppm of gluten.

If you pay attention to the regulations of the FDA, you’ll understand that the agency doesn’t encourage drinking beer made from gluten grains.

Gluten removed beer

Unlike gluten free beer, whose original recipe does not involve gluten, gluten removed beer is made using malted barley or wheat, just like regular beer.

However, at the end of the brewing process, certain enzymes are added to the beer. These enzymes are capable of breaking down all gluten particles.     

You have to remember that this process does not technically remove the gluten content from the beer. It reduces the size of the gluten bits into smaller pieces so that they cannot affect the body of a celiac.

The body cannot recognize these small protein particles and hence cannot initiate allergic reactions. The broken-down articles are also too small to be recognized during tests.

That’s why gluten reduced or gluten removed beer gets a clean chit and is considered safe for people with gluten allergy or celiac disease.

Such a beer is usually marked with a GR label and mentions that it’s crafted to reduce gluten.   

Now, to address the main question – is gluten removed beer safe? Adding enzymes to a gluten-rich brew reduces the gluten particles in size.

But the fragments are still present in the beverage. Some protein particles might fail to undergo the breakdown. Such gluten protein fragments also stay back in the beer.

It has been found that in many cases, gluten reduced beer has been found to cause allergic reactions in people with celiac disease or gluten allergy, especially in patients who have a severe condition.

So, while gluten reduced beer can be a great option for most celiacs, you have to be careful about consuming it. 

Enzymes in gluten reduced beer make the gluten particles smaller so that there is a lower risk of triggering immune responses from these particles. However, studies have shown that gluten reduced beer can cause allergic reactions.

So people who are severely allergic are advised not to drink it.  

Many brands have perfected their method of gluten reduction over a long time, so the result is safe for beerheads who need to avoid gluten.

Asahi, for instance, has been working continuously to ensure that Peroni Nastro Azzurro is a safe option. There’s hardly any report of the beer causing allergic reactions.  

A Little about Asahi

Every beer connoisseur with a palate for the best beer varieties has tried Asahi. It is a Japanese brand. Originally made in Tokyo, this lager beer brand is a world-quality beer that has impressed beer-lovers across the world.

It is the no. 1 beer in Japan, with the Asahi Super Dry being the most popular product. 

The primary beer produced by the company was Asahi Gold, produced in 1957. But Asahi Super Dry, which was introduced in the year 1987, is the flagship brand of the company.

Its unique subtle flavor does not go too heavy on the flavors of malt compared to the beer by its competitors.

Asahi is one of the four major brewers in Japan. As a business group, it is associated with many other products and brands that can be categorized as alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, and food in the FnB industry.

Its business profile also includes overseas business and “other” business.

After spreading its domestic footprint in the beer industry of Japan, Asahi managed to broaden its horizon in the other parts of the world, especially in Europe and Australia, by acquiring various companies as the owner and distributor. It is headquartered in its birthplace, i.e., Tokyo in Japan.  

Asahi beer varieties are also vegan. You might have never wondered about another feature of beer, and it might sound like redundant information.

But the fact is many beer varieties contain isinglass finings from the swim bladders of fish! You don’t have to worry about the same in the case of Asahi.   

Peroni Nastro Azzurro Gluten Free Beer  

Asahi owns several other breweries, including Peroni Brewery in Italy.

Originally founded by Francesco Peroni back in 1846, Peroni was sold to Asahi Breweries in 2016 by its then owner, Miller Brands U.K. of SABMiller.

Also, Asahi owns and distributes other beverages around the world.

The original Peroni Nastro Azzurro uses a recipe developed in 1963. It captures the craftsmanship of Italian beer brewing and reflects their passion for this beverage.

It is the biggest beer export of the company. Designed for beer-drinkers with a sophisticated palate, it has an unmistakable Italian touch. 

The gluten free version of Peroni Nastro Azzurro came much later – in the year 2017, a year after Peroni was taken over by Asahi. The company wanted to recreate a non-gluten variant of the original  Peroni Nastro Azzurro by using the same ingredients – and adding gluten-reducing enzymes in the end.   

Peroni Nastro Azzurro (Gluten Free) beer has a malty flavor and floral aroma, with just a hint of straw and grains and the notes of herbs and grass hop in the background.

It has a sweet aftertaste and a light, bitter finish. It looks like clear gold with hardly any foam. It forms a thin white head when poured.

Endorsed by the Italian Coeliac Association, the gluten free version of Peroni Nastro Azzurro is hardly any different in taste from the original beer.

It is light and delicious and designed for celiac disease or gluten allergy without having to worry about suffering from reactions that beer can cause.

Gluten Free Japanese Beer

No patient with celiac disease or gluten allergy wants to take risks, even though a sip of good old-fashioned beer is a tempting thing. Even though Asahi’s Peroni Nastro Azzurro (Gluten Free) beer is mostly trusted by celiac patients as well as the celiac association of the country, there are still safer options available. 

Are you determined to try Japanese beer? There are a few gluten free brands that you can try. These are made from non-gluten grains.

In Japan, these beer varieties are called “third beer” to indicate that they are made using some other protein form. These third beer varieties are cheaper than regular beer!   

Let’s take a look at some of the gluten free Japanese beer brands:

1) Nodogoshi Nama by Kirin

The Nodogoshi Nama by Kirin is a special gluten free beer served at gluten-free restaurants and cafes.

It is made using soy protein instead of gluten grains and is one of the best gluten free Japanese beers. 

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2)  Draft One by Sapporo

Sokai Zero by Sapporo is a Japanese beer that is made of pea protein.

Not only is it a great option for people with celiac disease or gluten allergy, but it’s also a low-calorie option that’s healthy for you.

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3) Jokki Nama by Suntory

Jokki Nama by Suntory is yet another Japanese brand that’s free from gluten content.

It is made using corn, along with a long list of other ingredients.

It is not as readily available at stores as the other brands.

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So if you are in Japan and looking for a gluten free beer brand, try these brands, for sure!

Gluten Free Beer

Japan is not the only place where you will find gluten free beer, of course. There are healthy beer brands with no gluten content in them, available in the US and other parts of the world.

Granted, beer brands that are made from non-gluten grains are not easy to find. But these are the best options for you!

Here are three gluten free beer brands that you must try:  

1) Element Plasma

Plazma Gluten Free Beer

Element Plasma is made using malted millet and buckwheat, along with brown rice. It also contains Aramis hops. This full-bodied beer with a sweet-and-spicy flavor is a delicious beverage to replace the gluten-rich beer options. It is a must-try gluten free beer if you have celiac disease or gluten allergy.

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2) Joseph James Fox Tail

Fox Tail Gluten Free Beer

The gluten free beer from the house of Joseph James Fox Tail is a cider-like beverage with a fruity yumminess. This brew has rice and nectar as its base, instead of gluten grains. It is also loaded with hop, giving it a piney flavor that makes it a refreshing drink that works well on a picnic or a summery day.

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3) Epic Glutenator

Glutenator Gluten Free Beer

The Epic Glutenator beer proudly flaunts that it is a gluten free beer – and it is one of the best of its kind that you can try. Instead of gluten grains, it is made using sweet potatoes, brown rice, and millet, along with molasses and floral hops. The ingredients give the drink a smooth finish with a gentle sweetness.  

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This list is so good that we feel keep going…

4) New Planet 

New Planet is a brand from Colorado that produces two gluten free beer varieties, i.e., the Pale Ale and the Blonde Ale. They are made using millets, oats, and corn instead of gluten grains. Both are quite delicious, without the bitterness that many dislike. The brand also has gluten removed beer varieties.

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5) Steadfast Beer Co.

Ground Breaker Brewing produces non-gluten craft beer to match their gluten free menu at their gastropub.

They use gluten free ingredients like malted rice and millet, along with lentils.

Other ingredients include sugarcane, chestnuts, and syrups of sorghum, rice, tapioca, and Belgian Candi.

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7) Redbridge

Redbridge Gluten Free Beer

Redbridge is a popular beer brand, and the beverage proudly flaunts that it is gluten free. It is made using sorghum instead of barley or wheat – along with hops, yeast, and corn syrup. Anheuser-Busch produces and distributes this non-gluten beer, which is why it is so easily available everywhere.  

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8) Aurochs Brewing Co.

Aurochs Brewing Co. is a 100% gluten free brewery dedicated to the creation of beverages that can be safely consumed by celiacs. To make the brew, the band sources naturally non-gluten grains like quinoa,  buckwheat, and millets. These are malted and milled to prepare healthy, gluten free, and delicious beers.

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9) Celia Saison by Ipswich Ale Brewery

The Celia Saison by Ipswich Ale Brewery is a delicious beer made of sorghum, yeast, and hops, with Curacao orange peel adding special flavor dimensions to the ale with a citrus profile. Irish moss is used in filtration. This gluten free beer has a rustic taste with a peppery note. It is absolutely safe for celiacs. 

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10) New Grist by Lakefront Brewery

Lakefront Brewery has been in the business of beer-making for over three decades. Out of all the beverages made by the brand, New Grist is the only gluten free variant. It is made of sorghum and rice, along with hops and yeast, to give you a crisp and refreshing taste that can be enjoyed at any time.

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If you enjoy a sip or two of beer to relax, but your health is preventing you from doing that, don’t worry and try these brands. You can enjoy drinking these non-gluten drinks that are made with naturally gluten free ingredients.

They are not just gluten removed, and hence, there is no trace of gluten in these drinks.

Final Lines

Asahi beer has many beer varieties, of which Peroni Nastro Azzurro (Gluten Free) is the only one that can be considered safe for you if you are allergic to gluten.

This beer variety is not exactly gluten free since it is not made using naturally non-gluten ingredients. Instead, the gluten content is reduced with enzymes.

Though the enzymes in any gluten reduced beer lower the risk of allergic reactions caused by protein particles, it’s best to choose a beer brand that uses naturally gluten free ingredients, so there’s no gluten to remove.

While Peroni Nastro Azzurro (Gluten Free) is a trusted brand, there are many alternatives.

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