There can be some confusion about whether Sapporo is gluten-free; this is because although Sapporo is brewed with rice and does not use wheat in the brewing process it does contain barley which is high in gluten. It has also been reported but not verified by us that it includes an ingredient called koji, which is apparently a type of fungus that can contain gluten. The confusion over this beer being gluten-free or not is in the fact that many other beers brewed with barley are still able to be drunk by people with gluten allergies, but only as long as they are under 20 ppm gluten.
So the big question is: can people with gluten intolerance or Celiac disease still drink Sapporo?
Is Sapporo Gluten Free?
The short answer is no, Sapporo is not gluten-free and people with gluten intolerance or Celiac disease should not drink Sapporo beer. This is because when tested for gluten it is reported as being well over 20 ppm, which means it is high in gluten.
If it tested under 20ppm it would be considered gluten-reduced and many people with gluten intolerances would be able to drink it safely, however, this is not the case. As such it is important to note that Sapporo is not considered a “safe” beer for people with these conditions for this reason.
As indicated the other reported issue with Sapporo when it comes to whether it is gluten-free is that an ingredient called koji, is used in brewing Sapporo, and it can contain gluten. Our research did not confirm that it contains this ingredient, but if you have gluten concerns it is worth noting that it might.
Apparently, there are two types of koji: Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus sojae. The Aspergillus oryzae koji does not contain gluten, but the Aspergillus sojae koji does. Reportedly Sapporo may use the Aspergillus sojae koji in their brewing process. This means that it can add additional amounts of gluten to the beer.
In conclusion, is Sapporo gluten-free? No, it is not, even though it is brewed with rice and not wheat, one of its ingredients is barley which contains gluten. When tested for gluten Sapporo tests higher than 20 ppm, which is higher than many other lagers so people with gluten intolerance or Celiac disease should not drink it. As always, it’s best to check with your doctor before trying any new food or drink if you have Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
P.S. If you brew your own beer be sure to pick up your gift of Big Robb’s top 5 favorite beer recipes from his brewpub. The details are on the side of the blog or at the bottom if you are on your phone. Cheers.