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Mike's Hard is the first malt liquor to go [almost] gluten-free

Mike’s Hard is easy on the gluten.

And now it’s the first malt beverage to use “crafted to remove gluten” on its label — with permission from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which regulates alcoholic beverages in the U.S.

“Crafted to remove gluten” means the filtration process used by Chicago-based Mike’s Hard Lemonade removes most of the gluten from the grain (in Mike’s case, barley). In 2012, the TTB ruled that manufacturers could highlight almost-gluten-free beverages as long as a disclaimer states that the products may contain trace amounts.

The motivation for manufacturers is that some people with gluten sensitivities may be able to tolerate trace amounts.

“The addition of the ‘Crafted to Remove Gluten’ seal on Mike’s packaging allows consumers to better identify beverages they may be able to enjoy based on the spectrum of their dietary needs,” dietitian Manuel Villacorta said in a news release from Mike’s.

The seal is on all Mike’s products, including Lite Hard Lemonade and Hard Smashed Apple Ale, the release said.

Till now, the “crafted to remove gluten” seal was found on a handful of beers like Prairie Path Golden Ale, made with barley by Warrenville-based Two Brothers Brewing. A beer labeled “gluten-free” is made from naturally gluten-free grains — sorghum, buckwheat, millet, rice — and is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.