Alcoholic Beverages and Allergies

If you have a food allergy and are treating yourself to a restaurant meal – be mindful, too, of the cocktail you might like to try.  The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate alcohol in terms of disclosing allergens, and so it is up to consumers to do their homework.(1)

Alcoholic beverages contain mixtures of grains, chemicals, and preservatives. Common allergens in alcoholic beverages include:

  • Barley
  • Egg protein (usually in wine)
  • Gluten
  • Grapes
  • Histamines
  • Hops
  • Rye
  • Seafood proteins
  • Sulfites
  • Wheat
  • Yeast(2)

Mixed drinks can add more challenges, cautions the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. Be sure to find out all of the ingredients in a mixed drink, and keep in mind stirrers and shakers can be a source of cross contact.(1)

Blender drinks can mean exposure to allergens if the blender is not washed thoroughly between uses. And if an establishment has open bowls of nuts near the bar, someone with a nut allergy should consider asking the bartender to wash his or her hands before making their drink.(3)

Finally, alcohol can decrease a person’s ability to make good decisions and communicate effectively about allergens. In particular for a person with allergies, moderation is key.(1)


(1) American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, Out To Eat With Food Allergies? Don’t Forget About Your Drinks,

(2) WebMD, Common Allergens in Alcohol,

(3) Living Allergic, Food Allergy and Alcohol: How to Socialize Without Brewing Up Trouble,