Aussie Innovation & German Tradition – The World’s First Gluten-Free Barley Beer

It is well known that beer is very popular in both Australia and Germany, but a recent innovation brings together an Australian innovation with pioneering German brewing.

The CSIRO’s Kebari* barley has been used to make the world’s first commercially produced, full flavoured, barley-based gluten-free beer. This is especially good news for people with coeliac disease who may soon be able to enjoy a greater variety of foods and beverages derived from the work of Australian scientists.

German beer brewing company, Radeberger, has used Kebari barley to develop the gluten-free beer, Pionier, the first such beer produced under the German Beer Purity law Reinheitsgebot.

Scientists from CSIRO, with co-funding from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), bred the Kebari grain, a new barley variety with ultra-low levels of hordeins, the type of gluten found in barley.

“Using conventional breeding we’ve reduced the gluten levels to 10,000 times less than regular barley which more than meets the World Health Organization’s recommendation for calling a grain gluten-free,” –CSIRO Principal Research Scientist Dr Crispin Howitt said.

While Pionier beer is only available in Germany, CSIRO is continuing to explore opportunities with Australian brewers to develop a local beer using Kebari barley.

While it is ‘ultra-low’ in gluten, Kebari grain cannot be called ‘gluten-free’ in Australia or New Zealand under the current Food Standards Code. However, the gluten level is well below 20 parts per million, the level recommended by the World Health Organization for classification as gluten free, so in some other countries, like Germany, products made with Kebari barley can be classified as gluten free.

CSIRO is also working on a hulless version of Kebari which will be better suited to food production which could be the first part of the next generation of gluten free products.

* Kebari™ is a trade mark of CSIRO.

Photo credit: Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from CSIRO.


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