Is Modelo Gluten Free?

According to their website, Modelo Especial is a “pilsner-style lager” with a clean crisp taste that’s brewed in Mexico and imported into the United States. As of right now, there’s no mention of the gluten content anywhere on the Modelo website. So, is Modelo gluten free? Let’s find out…

Is Modelo Gluten-Free?

The simple answer is no, Modelo is not gluten-free. This is for the simple reason that it is brewed with barley which contains gluten. Having said that the FDA advises that in order to be considered a gluten-free beer it must have under 20 ppm gluten. All of our research (internet-based) does indicate that Modelo falls into this category. In our opinion, this means Modelo is gluten-reduced and not gluten-free and it is possible that some people with Celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity may still react to it.

How Many PPM of Gluten Are in Modelo Beer?

All beers labeled as gluten-free are required by the FDA to contain less than 20 ppm of gluten, and Modelo appears to meet this standard as all reports we have seen during our research indicate that it ranges from 5 ppm – 20 ppm. Although this meets the criteria it does still mean that there are trace amounts of gluten in the beer, and some people with Celiac disease may still react to it.

Details on Modelo Beer

Modelo is a brand of beer owned by Grupo Modelo and brewed in Mexico. It is the second best-selling imported beer in the US. In the US distribution rights are owned by Constellation Brands.

First bottled in 1925, Modelo is a pilsner-style lager that is advertised as having a well-balanced taste and a light hop character with a clean and crisp finish, as well as having an aroma that is defined as being orange blossom honey with a hint of herb.

Model Ingredients & Nutritional Facts

The ingredients in Modelo are:

barley malt,
non-malted cereals,
and yeast.

Apparently, Modelo does not use any additives or preservatives in its beer.

There is not any gluten in hops or yeast, however, barley malt and non-malted cereals both contain gluten.

Nutritional facts per 12 FL. OZ serving… 

4.4 % alcohol percentage
143 calories per serving
0 grams of fat
1.1 grams of protein
13.5 grams of carbohydrates
20 mg of sodium
90 mg of potassium

It should also be noted that Modelo advertises as being vegan, which means they would not use any animal products to aid in fining or clearing the beer.

Gluten Cross-Contamination Concerns

Another concern for people with gluten issues is that while the ingredients in Modelo beer contain a low enough amount of gluten to be considered by the FDA as being gluten-free, with any beer there will always be some concern about cross-contamination during the brewing process, especially if they brew other beers with higher levels of gluten.

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, “Cross-contamination can occur at any point during food processing, including during agricultural production (e.g., in fields and warehouses), transportation, manufacturing, packaging, and even at home.”

This means that even if a product does not contain any gluten-containing ingredients, it can still be contaminated with gluten during production.

Last Call

As you have seen when it comes to the question is Modelo Gluten-Free? The clear answer is no it is not. And this is due to the simple fact it is brewed using barley malt and non-malted cereals, both of which contain gluten. Having said that, the FDA classifies any beer containing less than 20 ppm of gluten as being gluten-free, and Modelo meets this standard with reports indicating it has a gluten content between 5 – 20 ppm.

If you have Celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you’ll need to decide for yourself or discuss with your doctor whether or not you can drink Modelo beer without having any adverse reactions. Some people with these sensitivities can drink beers that have been brewed with under 20 ppm gluten and brewed in a dedicated facility that adheres to strict protocols for preventing cross-contamination while others can’t.

P.S. If you brew your own beer or want to start be sure to pick up your gift of Big Robb’s top 5 favorite beer recipes from his brewpub. Details are on the side of the blog or at the bottom if you are on your phone. Cheers!

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