Researchers at the University of Milan say they have created created a new gluten free malt made from rice both in the lab and in a pilot plant. They chose to work with rice not only because it is gluten free, but they say it's similar enough to barley for them to create a good gluten free beer.
According to Packaged Facts, the gluten free market swelled to $1.6 billion last year; the University of Milan researchers wrote in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry:
"Malted rice with [an] appreciable sensory characteristics could be used by food industries to produce a number of products, such as gluten-free foodstuffs (as well as beer) or baby and dietetic food."
Rice beer is nothing new, though it is usually known for producing bad brews. This new approach to malting rice may change that.