Is PBR Hard Coffee Gluten Free?

The new Hard Coffee from Pabst Blue Ribbon, or PBR, is a malt liquor beverage and therefore is not gluten free. Malt liquor is derived from barley which is one of the main grains that gluten is found.

Read on to learn more about the history of PBR and why those individuals sensitive to gluten should stay clear from their products.

History of Pabst Blue Ribbon

Pabst Blue Ribbon was created in 1890 when first-generation German American immigrants Frederick and Maria Pabst took over Maria’s father’s local brewery up his retirement. 

The Blue Ribbon beer got its name after winning the title of ‘America’s Best Beer’ at the World’s Expo in Chicago in 1893. Upon winning the title, Frederick Pabst tied blue satin ribbons and embossed the beer bottles with gold before shipping. Patrons would ask for ‘the blue ribbon beer’ and the name stuck. 

Decline and Revival

PBR is one of the few beer brands to experience a rise in popularity, followed by a sharp slump, and an equally amazing revival. PBR peaked in 1977 when they produced 18 million barrels of beer.

From the early 1980s until the mid-90s sales for the company continued to decrease. By 1996, the CEO had left and the company announced plans to stop production in their largest Milwaukee facility.  

In early 2010, PBR was once again topping brewer sales charts with their revival credited to the hipster trend that dominated so much of the early decade. The brand encouraged fan art submissions and opted to advertise on indie pages to play up the hype. 

PBR Hard Coffee Ingredients

PBR released their Hard Coffee Malt Liquor Beverage in the Summer of 2019 to a limited market for testing purposes. The drink, a malt liquor mixed with caffeinated coffee, was a success. 

Malt liquor is a type of alcoholic drink that is made from barley, wheat, and rye, just like beer. The only difference between beer and malt liquor is that more sugar is added to the malt liquor to create a higher alcohol content.

Along with malt liquor, the other ingredients listed are arabica coffee beans, milk, and vanilla flavoring.

Why is Hard Coffee Legal and Four Loko Illegal?

Many people wonder how and why PBR’s Hard Coffee is legal but Four Loko is not. Four Loko is an alcoholic beverage that contained added caffeine. Consuming alcohol and caffeine at the same time is highly unsafe.

Because PBR’s Hard Coffee contains coffee but no added caffeine, it is technically legal under the current federal laws. Coffee contains caffeine, but because it is not additionally added, PBR’s Hard Coffee drink is safe to consume. 

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein that comes from grains such as wheat, rye, barley, and triticale. Gluten acts like glue to hold the grains together. Some people can have gluten sensitivities and allergies that prevent them from consuming gluten. 

For some people with these allergies and sensitivities, their gluten intolerance can lead them to have a condition known as Celiac disease.

What is Celiac disease?

Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease that prevents a person from properly digesting gluten. There is no cure for Celiac’s and one of the few productive treatments is to abstain from all food and drinks containing gluten products. 

Celiac’s disease presents a range of different symptoms including:

  • Fatigue

  • Weakness

  • Bloating

  • Diarrhea

  • Weight loss

  • Abdominal pain

Other Gluten Free Options from PBR

Unfortunately, because all beer and malt liquor is made from barley, there are limited choices for beer drinkers. Currently, there are no gluten free options from the PBR brand in 2021. 

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