celia gluten free beer

Beer has been tipped as a potential boom category for the free-from market.

With free-from food and drink sales soaring, brewers and retailers are showing interest in the opportunity offered by gluten-free beer.

Gluten-free Czech lager Celia (rsp: £2.29/330ml) has secured its first nationwide multiple listing, rolling into Waitrose last week; and St Peter’s Brewery said it had secured new listings for its own gluten-free beer in more than 400 Tesco stores and 300 The Co-op Group stores.

Gluten-free beer was emerging from its niche, said David Ware, director at free-from brand Green’s. “Gluten-free beers can sit comfortably in the beer aisle, as well as the ‘free from’ fixture, which is evidence those who are not gluten-intolerant are happy to choose gluten-free beer.”

About 6% of UK adults drank gluten-free beer, said Mintel drinks analyst Chris Wisson, which he described as a “reasonable number considering the limited number of brands in the market”.

He added the success of free-from beer would depend on the retailers giving the category greater visibility.

The market for gluten-free beer had grown in the past year but had not reached its full potential, suggested Sue Cane, beer expert at free-from information service Foods Matter. “Developments in brewing technology mean it is now possible to brew gluten-free beer indistinguishable from ordinary beer,” said Cane. “More breweries are beginning to realise this and market top-quality beers that also happen to be gluten-free.”