Is Mead Gluten-Free? Is It Possible to Be Allergic to Mead?

Is Mead Gluten-Free? Is It Possible to Be Allergic to Mead?

Sam Trathen
6 minute read

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This article should not be taken as medical advice. If you are ever concerned about a potential allergy, the first thing you need to do is speak with your doctor. If you think you are having an allergic reaction, please call 911.

We get a lot of interesting questions over in our Customer Service inbox. Some of them are easier to answer than others.

One question we get pretty frequently is, 'Is mead gluten-free?'

Whether you have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or an allergy, this is a perfectly valid question. Plenty of alcohols do contain gluten - especially beer. And many drinkers who are new to mead may not know the difference between beer and mead. It's always good to be safe and know exactly what is in the alcohol you are drinking.

I (as in the author of this article, Marketing Bard Sam) get it completely. I happen to have quite a few food allergies. Some of them have fairly insignificant reactions, but a couple of them can be downright dangerous. Because of that, I have to be very careful about what I put into my body. Even minor amounts of certain allergens, such as cross-contamination from a serving spoon used in a dish with an ingredient I'm allergic to, can cause quite a bit of discomfort or even kill me.

And for the record, I know firsthand that it can be intimidating to ask a question like this, even when it's just in an email to our customer service team ( But it just so happens that I am the person who answers those emails here at Groennfell and I am always happy to answer questions like this. We want our customers to be confident and comfortable in their mead-drinking.

So without further ado...

Is Mead Gluten-Free?


(This is starting to sound like our 'Did Vikings Drink Mead?' article)

The more complicated answer is that the main ingredients in every mead are simply honey, water, and yeast. And none of those things contain gluten. But it can be a little more complicated than that, depending on the mead and the Meadery that made it.

get out of here, bread!
(Get out of here, bread!)

Can Mead Have Gluten?

Yes, some mead can contain gluten. There are three grains commonly used in brewing that have gluten: rye, barley, and wheat. Most commonly, these grains are used in the brewing of beer or the making of malt for distilled spirits, like whiskey. However, they are, sometimes, used in the production of mead, too.

For example, barley mead is a type of mead which is brewed with (you guessed it) barley. Some meads also have added alcohols, like whiskey or cognac, which might not be gluten-free. When in doubt, read the label and reach out to your favorite Meadery's customer service team.

And contrary to popular belief: while hops are used in the production of both beer and our beloved Hop Swarm, they are actually gluten-free too.

Hop Swarm Dry-Hopped Mead by Havoc

Hop Swarm Dry-Hopped Mead by Havoc


Hop Swarm combines wildflower honey and seven different hops for a balanced, perfectly crushable beverage. Because the hops in this mead are never boiled, Hop Swarm has a complex, floral taste with almost no bitterness. Purchase by 4 pack or… read more

Another thing to consider: there are many types of yeast out there. Yeast in itself is gluten-free. However, many brewer's yeasts come from beer brewing, which means that they may have been exposed to barley, and thereby gluten, at some point. Will it be enough to make you sick if you're celiac or gluten-sensitive? That's a conversation for you and your doctor, not a blog article.

Also, just because one beverage does not contain gluten does not mean cross-contamination is impossible. If your chosen Meadery also produces beer, you may want to ask if cross-contamination is likely. Remember: it costs nothing to ask!

Is Groennfell Mead Gluten-Free?

We do not currently can anything at our facility that contains gluten, which means there is no possible chance of cross-contamination. So yes, Groennfell Mead is gluten-free. You've probably seen that label on some of our mead cans - we take it very seriously! From our About Us page:


Please note that this is not the case for every Meadery out there. If you're concerned, remember to contact your Meadery's customer service team and ask.

Is It Possible to be Allergic to Mead?

Of course! It's possible to be allergic to anything. Trust me on that one.

Are There Any Common Allergens in Mead?

That's a little bit more difficult to answer. Of course, every mead and every Meadery are different. Having an idea of what your allergies are by taking a food allergy test with your doctor will go a long way. But also, an environmental allergy test may prove helpful when it comes to certain ingredients.

For example, I had a mild allergic reaction to our mead Stary Olsa, which contained heather tips. A year or so later, heather was highlighted on my environmental allergy test!

Some of the most common food allergies are fruits that can be used in the production of melomel meads: apples, pears, cherries, peaches, plums, kiwi, melons and more. 

Raw honey can contain bee pollen or trace parts of bees, which can sometimes be dangerous to people who have bee allergies. Not every person with a bee allergy has this reaction, but again, if you are concerned, please talk to your doctor before you try our mead.

And finally, many meads contain sulfites or clarifying agents, which may induce an allergic reaction in some people.

Be sure and always check the label of every type of mead you drink to make sure they are safe for you. 

What Do I Do If I Have an Allergic Reaction to Mead?

The first thing to do when having any allergic reaction is to stay calm and take an assessment of your symptoms.

Some symptoms to watch out for:

Less concerning symptoms of an allergic reaction:

  • Hives, itchiness
  • Swelling not in the tongue/airways
  • Mild pain in the stomach, mild nausea, but no vomiting or diarrhea

If you are having any severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or go to your local emergency room. 

If you are having less concerning symptoms, doctor-approved antihistamine or anti-nausea medicine will reduce them. If you are concerned or have never had an allergic reaction, a trip to your local urgent care won't hurt.

Once you are feeling better, make sure to mention your reaction to your doctor. Together, you can come up with a plan for what to do if you wind up having another reaction.


Our meads, and most meads are gluten-free but not always free of allergens. If you are concerned, remember to consult your doctor and reach out to your favorite Meadery's customer service team.

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