NEW: Stop alcohol flush with Sunset Forte — now 33% off!

Am I Allergic To Alcohol? Diagnosing Wine, Beer, & Vodka Allergies

Verified Icon

Science verified by:

Reset Labs Research Group

Am I Allergic To Alcohol? Diagnosing Wine, Beer, & Vodka Allergies

⏱️ TL:DR ∙ Article in 20s

A true allergy to alcohol is rare, it's more likely facial flushing, wheezing, hives, nausea, and dizziness caused by alcohol signify an intolerance instead. These symptoms often arise from insufficient metabolization of alcohol, allowing byproducts like acetaldehyde along with sulfites, histamines, gluten, and yeasts to accumulate. Though not a medical allergy, this intoxication response produces discomfort. Solutions like limiting drinking or using Asian Flush pills can ease symptoms. Most can still enjoy moderate alcohol by making these kinds of adjustments and supplementing when necessary. The main differentiation is whether complete abstinence is required (allergy) or symptoms can be managed (intolerance). Read on to find out which camp you fall into.

Do you break out in hives or experience other unusual symptoms when you drink alcohol? You're not alone. Many people have reactions to drinking alcohol - ranging from minor annoyances to severe responses. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have a true alcohol allergy.

Alcohol allergies are actually quite rare. More likely, you may have an alcohol intolerance or sensitivity to an ingredient found in alcoholic beverages. I've been there myself, dealing with unpleasant reactions to drinking, and I know how confusing it can be to figure out what's happening.

In this article, I'll walk you through the key differences between an alcohol allergy, alcohol intolerance, and other common culprits behind negative reactions to alcohol. I'll also share actionable tips on how to manage your symptoms through tried-and-true methods like taking Asian glow pills. Whether you have mild flushing from wine or more severe stomach upset from beer, you can get to the bottom of your body's response and find relief. My goal is for you to leave this article with clarity about what causes YOUR specific reaction to alcohol - because having answers marks the first step to being able to enjoy drinks again without unwanted effects.

I know how disheartening it can feel to have your nights out cut short or your celebrations dampened by migraines or other symptoms triggered by alcohol. But there are solutions out there for you. Read on to uncover yours!

Alcohol Intolerance (Or Asian Flush)

If you experience negative symptoms after drinking alcohol, one of the main causes could be alcohol intolerance. This is sometimes called Asian Flush, as a high percentage of Asian people suffer from this condition.

In short, Asian Flush means your body is unable to break down alcohol properly, and your system is flooded with a chemical that causes negative symptoms. So while it's not a true allergic reaction, it's still uncomfortable and sometimes painful to drink alcohol. How can you tell the difference though?

Alcohol Intolerance vs Alcohol Allergy

In general, you will experience very similar symptoms whether you're suffering from an alcohol intolerance or alcohol allergy. The key difference is in the severity of symptoms. While alcohol intolerance can be very uncomfortable, it isn't as serious as an alcohol allergy.

An alcohol allergy can be life-threatening, in some cases. That's why it is so important that you learn the differences before you drink alcohol. For example, maybe you get a slightly stuffy nose when you drink alcohol. This could be a sign of alcohol intolerance. But if your nose, mouth, and throat swell up to the point it becomes difficult to breathe, it is more likely an allergic reaction to the alcohol consumption.

If you want to learn more about alcohol intolerance, and how symptoms differ from an allergic reaction to alcohol, check out these resources below:

For now, though, let's move on to the symptoms of a beer allergy in particular.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Beer Allergy?

Again, a true allergy to beer is rare. More commonly, you have an intolerance to something used to make the beer during the brewing process. However, just because you aren’t allergic to beer doesn’t mean you can’t experience negative symptoms, including:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Stuffy nose
  • Stomach pain
  • Wheezing or worsening asthma
  • Hives or red skin (primarily on the face, neck and/or chest)

What Ingredient May I Be Allergic To In Certain Beers?

There are a lot of ingredients, additives, and preservatives in beer that can cause severe allergic reactions in some people. As mentioned above, symptoms of a beer intolerance can look like an allergic reaction, even if it isn’t actually one.

Some ingredients in beer that cause the most issues include:

  • Gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley). This can really upset people with celiac disease as it’s found in numerous different types of beer and cider
  • Specific types of grains
  • Yeast
  • Hops

Looking for alcohol beverages that are gluten-free is a simple, surefire way to limit your reaction if gluten is the issue. If you love drinking beer because of the taste but hate getting a negative reaction, you may have a better experience drinking alcoholic-free beer instead.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Wine Allergy?

Thankfully, a true allergy to alcohol, including wine, is very rare. However, you might have an alcohol intolerance or intolerance or allergy to something included in wine.

Like intolerance to beer, symptoms of a wine intolerance include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Nasal congestion
  • Facial flushing (including red cheeks)

Most commonly, people report feeling flushed and get nasal congestion when drinking wine when they have some level of sensitivity or intolerance. Unfortunately, there are a lot of ingredients in wine that can cause some negative reactions.

Sulfites intolerance

Your reaction to wine could be caused by sulfites intolerance. These can be found in beer and wine to limit the amount of yeast in the drink and preserve it for longer. Typically, white wine has a higher level of sulfites than red wine or beer, although the chemical is found in all three types of drinks.

In the end, sulfites in wine are one of the causes of a negative reaction when drinking.

Histamine intolerance

Histamine is found in the body naturally and is broken down by an enzyme. If you don’t produce this enzyme properly or effectively, you’ll react negatively to the higher amount of histamine in your body.

Histamine is found commonly in aged cheese, smoked meats, beer and wine. However, red wine is the worst culprit for histamine, more so than beer or white wine.

Alcohol allergy

Can I Be Allergic To Vodka?

A true allergic to vodka, or alcohol, is extremely rare so it’s more likely that you have an intolerance to alcohol in general.

If you experience immediate negative symptoms after drinking vodka, it’s important to speak to your doctor before drinking again. Just because you may not have an allergy to alcohol doesn’t mean that your negative reaction to alcohol is meaningless.

If you find that your reaction is more extreme depending on the type of alcohol you drink, it’s likely that there’s an ingredient in that specific drink that’s upsetting your body. Some people find that vodka gives them less of a reaction compared to red wine.

However, it may be that drinks with higher alcohol content impact you worse than those with less alcohol content. If your body has trouble breaking down alcohol (alcohol intolerance, or Asian Flush) it may struggle to deal with alcoholic drinks with a high alcohol content.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms If You Are Allergic To Vodka?

If you are truly allergic to alcohol, including vodka, symptoms of this allergy include:

  • Dizziness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Hives (which may be painful)
  • Swelling of the eyes, nose and/or throat

Generally, the symptoms of an alcohol allergy can be very similar to those of a food allergy. Either way, it can be very serious and even life-threatening. If you think you may have an alcohol allergy, it’s vital to speak to your doctor before drinking alcohol again.

On the other hand, symptoms of alcohol intolerance are similar but far less severe. Rather than severe trouble breathing, you may experience some wheezing instead. Or instead of painful hives, you might experience a red face. The symptoms are similar, but not as intense as a true allergy.

Why Do I Get Cold-Like Symptoms After Drinking Alcohol?

Feel like you’re getting sick with a cold after drinking alcoholic beverages? You’re not alone!

This may be a sign that you have some level of alcohol intolerance. Many symptoms of alcohol intolerance, such as nasal congestion, headaches, nausea or stomach cramps could trick you into thinking you’re getting a cold. However, if these symptoms are due to alcohol intolerance, they should only last a short period of time.

What Causes Itching Between The Fingers After Drinking?

Itchiness, including hives or red flushing of the skin, is a common symptom of alcohol intolerance. It’s a sign that your body is negatively reacting to alcohol or an ingredient in alcoholic drinks.

Can You Be Allergic To Hard Liquor But Not Beer?

Simply put: no. If you have a true alcohol allergy (ethanol) then you will experience a serious negative allergic reaction to all alcoholic drinks. However, you may find that you experience a worse alcohol intolerance reaction to hard liquor, but less of a reaction with drinks like beer and cider. Again - this goes back to specific ingredients used in specific alcoholic beverages.

What Can I Do To Help With Alcohol Allergy or Alcohol Intolerance Symptoms?

If you feel that you are suffering from alcohol allergies or even an intolerance - it doesn't mean you have to give up drinking altogether. You can simply limit consumption. Of course, this will depend on the severity of your symptoms. If you have a true alcohol allergy, it is best to abstain from alcohol altogether until you've had a chance to speak with your doctor.

But, in the meantime, you can try Sunset's Asian Flush pills! These will help your body attack the root cause of your flushing symptoms by breaking down certain toxins. With over 30,000 success stories around the globe, you can rest assured it will work for you. Give it a try today and start feeling comfortable in your own skin while enjoying a few drinks with your friends!

Enjoy drinking again and get Sunset Alcohol Flush Support for
33% off while stocks last!

What’s inside?

We use a pharmacist-formulated blend of Glutathione, Dihydromyricetin, Cysteine, L-Theanine, & B Vitamins to stop alcohol flushing before it can begin.

Learn more
Sunset Flush Support is rated 5 stars by thousands of customers

94% of people who try Sunset are satisfied with the results.

Sunset Forte Alcohol Flush Support
Sunset Forte Alcohol Flush Support
Sunset Forte Alcohol Flush Support
Sunset Forte Alcohol Flush Support
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, Sunset Forte Alcohol Flush Support
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, Sunset Forte Alcohol Flush Support
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, Sunset Forte Alcohol Flush Support
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, Sunset Forte Alcohol Flush Support

Featured product

Sunset Forte Alcohol Flush Support

Tax included.

  • Order 2 bottles of upgraded Sunset Forte today and receive completely FREE shipping, no matter where you are in the world!

  • Sunset Forte comes with an iron-clad, Flush Free or Your Money Back Guarantee.

Note: If you have any questions regarding shipping of Sunset (or anything else) please get in contact with us.

Flush free or your money back guaranteed!