Monday, April 29, 2013

Rigby-made Blue Ice vodka earns "gluten free" label designation

Blue Ice Vodka, an American potato vodka produced at Distilled Resources, Inc. near Rigby, has become the first spirit brand in the country to feature a "Gluten Free" designation on its package label.

A Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is required for all alcoholic beverage labels. To receive the designation, a product must meet all the bureau's testing standards.

Gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, can trigger a digestive disorder called celiac disease, one of the most common genetic autoimmune conditions in the world -- and one that often goes undiagnosed. It is estimated that as many as one in 141 Americans, or about 1 percent of the population, has celiac disease. The only existing treatment is a gluten free diet.

"Three years in the making, federal approval to officially label Blue Ice Vodka as gluten free is another progressive step for the industry and for all of those who suffer from gluten intolerance," said Gray Ottley, director of Distilled Resources, Inc. Previous to "Gluten Free" COLA approval, gluten free claims by spirit companies have been prohibited on package labeling. Blue Ice Vodka bottles featuring the new packaging are now in market nationwide.

Vodka can come from a variety of sources -- potatoes, wheat, corn, even grapes. If you're gluten intolerant, you don't want to buy vodka made from wheat. Here are some other brands that have been identified as gluten free, even if they haven't yet been officially labeled:
  • Bombora vodka. A grape-based vodka imported from Australia.
  • Chopin vodka. The company makes three varieties of vodka: wheat, potato and rye. The potato-based vodka comes in a bottle with a black cap and lettering.
  • Ciroc Ultra Premium vodka. Another premium vodka, also made from grapes. Ciroc's plain vodka is considered gluten-free.
  • Cold River vodka. Made in Maine, Cold River comes in two flavors: plain and blueberry (made with real Maine wild blueberries). Both are considered gluten-free. Interestingly, the company also makes an unusual potato-based gin..
  • DiVine vodka. Made from grapes by a winery in southwest Michigan. The winery/distillery does not process any gluten grains.
  • Glacier vodka. Also made from potatoes in Rigby by Distilled Resources.
  • Luksusowa vodka. Poland-crafted Luksusowa (which means "luxurious" in Polish) is the top-selling potato vodka in the world, according to distributor W.J. Deutch & Sons.
  • Monopolowa vodka. This potato-based vodka originated in Poland and now is distilled in Austria.
  • Smirnoff vodka. Distilled from corn, and the company's plain vodka should be safe. Beware, however, of Smirnoff Ice beverages — they are malt-based and not gluten-free.
  • Tito's handmade vodka. Tito's is made in Texas from corn.
Blue Ice Vodka is owned by 21st Century Spirits based in Los Angeles, Calif. For additional information, visit www.blueicevodka.com.