Widmer Distributes its "Gluten-Removed" Beers Nationwide

In March we posted a story about the introduction of Omission Beer (read it), which at that time was described as a new line of gluten-free beers from Widmer Brothers Brewing. We quickly learned that the term “gluten-free” is tricky. At that time the brewery was introducing the beer to the Oregon marketplace only. Today we announce the wider rollout of Omission Lager and Omission Pale Ale. The beer is now being distributed on the West Coast and should be available nationwide by mid-June (see the press release below).

Our initial story about Omission Lager and Omission Pale Ale attracted a lot of attention. Gluten-free beer is a hot topic. For the most part, gluten-intolerant individuals have been left out in the cold when it comes to craft beer. Widmer claims to be one of the first breweries to produce a real beer that is “gluten-removed,” meaning it is brewed using malted barley instead of sorghum, buckwheat or some other alternative. Having sampled both of the Omission beers I can testify that if you didn’t know it was nearly gluten-free you would not guess. It just tastes like beer.

Of the many comments on our initial story, some people questioned exactly how Widmer defines the term gluten-free. One thing I learned from this conversation is that people experience varying levels of gluten-intolerance. Widmer has now changed its description of the Omission Beers and describes them as “gluten-removed.” While you might expect the term gluten-free to indicate the complete absence of gluten, it turns out there are different standards. Apparently gluten levels as high as 20 parts per million (PPM) can be called gluten-free according to at least one of these standards. For some, 20 PPM is far too much. It seems that if you are a gluten-intolerant person who can tolerate a beer containing upwards of 10 PPM, Omission Beers are for you.

Widmer tests every batch of Omission and publishes the results on the Omission website. The analysis results for most batches show Gluten Peptide (ELISA) levels to be less than 5 PPM. Other batches, less than 10 PPM.

According to the Omission website, “We’re committed to ensuring that every bottle of Omission beer meets our team’s standards. Each batch of Omission Pale Ale and Omission Lager is tested by an independent lab using the R5 Competitive ELISA for gluten content. Although there is scientific evidence supporting this testing, the evidence is not conclusive. Omission beer may contain gluten.”


Here is the press release about the wider distribution of Omission beers.


Omission Beer Releases Omission Lager and Omission Pale Ale Nationally THROUGH PHASED ROLLOUT

Craft Beers Brewed with Malted Barley, Specially Crafted to Remove Gluten

PORTLAND, Ore. – May 17, 2012 Beginning this week, Omission Beer will start distributing Omission Lager and Omission Pale Ale, the first two craft beer offerings from the new brand, nationally. Previously available only in Oregon, the phased rollout will begin on the West Coast and is expected to be available nationwide by mid-June.

Announced in late March by Craft Brew Alliance (CBA), Omission is the first craft beer brand in the U.S. focused exclusively on brewing great-tasting craft beers with traditional ingredients—including malted barley—that are specially crafted to remove gluten. Brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Ore., Gluten levels in every batch of Omission beer are measured by the brewery and two independent labs using the R5 Competitive ELISA test to ensure that the beer meets the brewery’s standards. Test results for every batch of Omission beer are available to consumers at:

“After introducing Omission Lager and Omission Pale Ale in Oregon last month, we’re eager to share our great-tasting brews with the rest of the country,” said Terry Michaelson, CEO. “Omission is a testament to the creativity, innovation and dedication of our team. As a celiac, I’m thrilled with the result, and think others in the celiac and craft beer communities will be, too.”

Omission Lager and Omission Pale Ale

“We wanted to offer great craft beers to people who aren’t able to fully enjoy the craft beer experience due to gluten intolerance,” said Joe Casey, brewmaster. “Omission Lager and Omission Pale Ale are approachable beers and are true expressions of their respective styles. We’re looking forward to sharing both beers with people across the United States.”

Omission Lager is a refreshing and crisp beer, brewed in the traditional lager style. Perfect for a variety of occasions, Omission Lager’s aromatic hop profile offers a unique, easy-drinking beer for those looking for a lighter and approachable beer style. Bold and hoppy, Omission Pale Ale is a hop-forward American pale ale, brewed to showcase the Cascade hop profile. Amber in color, Omission Pale Ale’s floral aroma is complemented by caramel malt body, making for a delicious craft beer.


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