Is Root Beer Gluten-Free? 4 Popular Brands 

As a child, my love for root beer came from the frosted mug or chilled glass bottle. It wasn’t just how it tasted but how it was served. I long for an ice-cold root beer on a hot summer day as an adult.

On a gluten-free diet, you have to be cautious of almost everything you consume. This left me asking the question, is root beer gluten-free?

Yes, the famous beverage is safe to drink if you are on a gluten-free diet. The ingredients will change depending on the brand, but none of the common ingredients contain gluten. It is always best to look for a gluten-free label or carefully read the ingredients list. 

Common Ingredients Of Root beer

Each brand of root beer has its own unique recipe, but the base ingredients are all quite similar. 

Here is a quick breakdown of some of the most common ingredients used to make root beer and other sodas. 

Ingredient What It’s Used For 
Carbonated Water What makes the drink a bubbly delight
High Fructose Corn SyrupGives the drink its sweetness 
Caramel Color Responsible for the rich brown coloring 
Sodium Benzoate Preservative used to prolong the drink’s shelf life 
Natural and Artificial Flavors Natural flavors are derived from fruits, vegetables, plants, and animal products. Artificial flavors are synthetically produced. They are used to produce the distinguishable taste of rootbeer. 

Traditionally the flavor of the rootbeer came from the root (hence the name) sassafras but was banned by the FDA in 1960. Sassafras is a medicinal root that is respectfully harvested in Native American culture. 

As the water was often tainted in the early days, this drink was thought to be a healthier choice due to the root’s medicinal properties and the drink’s original fermentation process. 

Fun Fact: While you might not have guessed it at first glance, I am  Native American and grew up on the Tuscarora Indian reservation. While we never made our own root beer, I would regularly harvest sassafras and brew tea from the root with my father. This was a yearly tradition of ours. 

Now that you know the basics of the drink, you can decide which variation is best for you. Read on to find out some great gluten-free brands and what’s inside the beverage. 

Root Beer Brands That are Safe On A Gluten-free Diet 

1. Barq’s

Barq’s root beer is one of the many drinks produced by The Coca-Cola Company; however, this sale was not finalized until 1995. Barq was born in New Orleans long before that, 124 years prior, to be exact. 

While you won’t find a gluten-free label on the can, the company states it is gluten-free. The ingredients include 

  1. Carbonated Water
  2. High Fructose Corn Syrup
  3. Caramel Color
  4. Sodium Benzoate (preservative) 
  5. Citric Acid ( flavor agent and preservative)
  6. Caffeine 
  7. Natural and Artificial Flavors
  8. Acacia 

2. A&W Root Beer

48 years after creating Barq’s, A&W came stumbling into the market. The company started as a small soda stand that welcomed home the veterans of World War I.  

Today, A&W is owned and produced by the Keurig Dr Pepper company. Like Barq’s, you will not find a gluten-free label on the can but can see it is free of gluten by reading the below ingredients.  

  1. Carbonated Water
  2. High Fructose Corn Syrup 
  3. Caramel Color
  4. Sodium Benzoate (preservative) 
  5. Natural and Artificial Flavors
  6. Quillaia extracts

Original root beer isn’t all A&W provides. Try their Cream Soda, Diet Root Beer, Aged Vanilla, or Diet Aged Vanilla Root beer; they are all gluten-free. 

3. IBC Root Beer 

I could never resist the glass bottle of IBC root beer as a kid. This beloved brand has been brewing root beer since 1919. The Keurig Dr Pepper company purchased the famous soft drink (yes, the same company that owns A&W root beer) and is now sold nationwide. 

Like most soft drinks, you won’t find a gluten-free label on the product but you will see that the ingredients are free from gluten. These include 

  1. Carbonated Water 
  2. Cane Sugar 
  3. Caramel Color 
  4. Sodium Benzoate
  5. Natural and Artificial Flavors
  6. Modified Corn Starch (helps prevent flavor separation) 
  7. Citric Acid (flavor additive and preservative)
  8. Quillaia extract

IBC also provides a Diet Root Beer, Cream Soda, Black Cherry Soda, and Limeade soda, all gluten-free. 

4. Mug Root Beer 

Last but not least comes Mug root beer. Created in the 1940s and originally produced by the Belfast Beverage Company, the label still wears the company’s mascot, the bulldog. It is now owned and produced by Pepsico

The ingredients are clearly listed below and are all gluten-free. 

  1. Carbonated Water 
  2. High Fructose Corn syrup (sweetener)
  3. Caramel Color 
  4. Sodium Benzoate (preservative)
  5. Citric Acid (flavor agent and preservative)
  6. Natural and Artificial Flavors 

Are you curious to know more popular brands and how well they rank compared to the rest? Check out this video. 

Before purchasing any of the brands mentioned in the video make sure to check their ingredients label to ensure they are gluten-free. 

Is Not Your Father’s Root Beer Gluten-Free?

What’s better than root beer on a hot summer day? Spiked root beer. Looking at all of the gluten-free root beers, I hoped that Not Your Fathers Rootbeer would follow the trend. Unfortunately, this beverage contains barely, and it is not gluten-free. It is brewed as a normal beer with added spices to achieve the root beer flavor. 

Root Sellers Row Hard Root Beer is a great gluten-free alternative. At 6.7%, this hard soda will quench your root beer craving while taking the edge off. 

Pro Tip: If you’re unable to find Root Sellers or another GF brand, you can add your favorite spiced rum to a root beer of your choice. 


Find a frosted mug and pour yourself an ice-cold root beer; it is gluten-free. Popular brands with no gluten-containing ingredients include Barq’s, A&W, IBC, and Mug root beer. Check out my recent article to discover what other beverages are gluten-free.

My name is Gabby, and I’m the creator of Gone Gluten. I started this site to inspire those who are currently living or trying to live a gluten-free lifestyle.

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2 thoughts on “Is Root Beer Gluten-Free? 4 Popular Brands ”

  1. I bought ibc in a bottle at a hotel last month and the ingredients listed wheat. I poured it out and thanked the Lord I didn’t drink it since I am anaphylactic to wheat/gluten

  2. Caramel coloring often contains gluten. I am very leery to drink any of these. I only drink the brands that label themselves as gluten-free. Coca-Cola itself is not gluten-free due to the caramel coloring.


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