Is Sake (“Saki”) Gluten-Free?

Updated: Oct 21, 2020

Sake sometimes wrongly pronounced ‘saki’ is an alcoholic beverage made from Sakemai rice, water, a mold called Aspergillus oryzae (also used in the fermentation of soy sauce), and yeast. Generally, there are two types of sake: Futsu-shu (ordinary sake) and Tokutei meisho- shu (special designation/premium sake). Premium sake is distinguished by the degree to which the rice has been polished, the percentage of alcohol, and the absence of additives. Fine sakes are typically aged for 6 months with variations of alcohol volume between 15% - 20% with above 20% for undiluted ones.

According to a 2013 survey by the NPD Group, more than 30% of Americans actively try to avoid eating gluten, with more health-conscious consumers on the lookout for foods free from fat, sugar, and gluten, the market for gluten-free products is swiftly growing.

Gluten is a protein found in most wheat products, acts like glue to help hold wheat, barley, rye, semolina, etc. together to maintain their shape. Gluten is naturally occurring and, therefore, impossible to strip away from the grain. Gluten triggers an immune response which damages the small intestine lining in celiac disease patients. In some cases, gluten can cause osteoporosis, infertility, nerve damage, seizures, or just gluten intolerance for others.

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Heavensake is Gluten-Free

The Truth About Sake and Gluten

Most sake is gluten-free because it is made with rice. Rice is a naturally gluten-free ingredient, which makes sake also gluten-free. Although there is a potential gluten issue arising in the Koji mold, however, whether grown at home or commercially on substrates, including rice and barley, there is nothing to fear if you are seeking a gluten-free alternative. Even Koji produced on barley is be directly added to the rice in the fermentation process and therefore creates the little possibility that gluten will stick with the Koji in the growth stage and make its way into the Sake mixture to be fermented.

This process involving barley doesn’t mean that sake isn’t safe for people avoiding gluten. It should be noted that any gluten grain added is minuscule, below the U. S and international law of ‘gluten-free’ standard even if the Koji was grown on pure barley.

If you are seeking some excellent Sake products, some of the best available on the market are brands like Dassai, Urakasumi, and Heavensake.

Heavensake, is simply one of the best quality sakes on the market. Heavensake has a composition created by the eight-time award-winning winemaker Regis Camus, in collaboration with Japan’s most respected sake breweries. Their collections include Junmai Ginjo, Junmai Daiginjo, and Junmai 12. Heavensake is smooth and has notes of grapes, cocoa, kumquat, crème Brulee, to mention a few. The alcohol volume is from 12% to 16% and pairs well with a variety of foods from lobsters, tuna tartar, green salads, Margherita pizzas to burgers.

If you are wondering if sake is safe for drinking or gluten-free. The answer is affirmative, sake, especially from the makers of Heavensake, is gluten-free and frankly healthy. It’s a pure blend of traditional Japanese sake with a touch of world-class, full flavour profile, a delectable treat for your taste buds.

To order some amazing gluten-free sake click here.

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