Winnipeg's Fort Garry Brewing has launched production of a new, gluten-free beer called Nubru, brewed without barley for people with celiac disease.

Doug Saville, brewmaster at Fort Garry, says the new beer has a distinctive taste.

"It's like a very light beer. It's very light in flavour," he told CBC News. "It's low in alcohol. It's four per cent, but it's very light in flavour, light in body, crisp, effervescent."

Fort Garry is producing the beer for Regina-based FarmPure Beverages.

"If you are a celiac, you cannot drink beer from barley malt or you will get sick, so there is a market there for this product, and it's ready-made," said FarmPure's chief operating officer, Jim Venn.

People with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the small intestine, try to eliminate the consumption of gluten— a protein found in wheat, barley and rye— to relieve symptoms such as bloating, nausea and depression.

About one in 133 Canadians are affected by celiac disease, but the market for gluten-free products is growing.

The Nubru recipe, which replaces barley malt with a vegetable protein and corn syrup, was created by the Winnipeg-based Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre.

The beer is the first of its kind brewed in Manitoba, and likely in all of Western Canada, Saville said. Other gluten-free brands are already available in Eastern Canada and in the United States.

The new beer has been on the shelves of Winnipeg liquor stores for about three weeks; a six-pack costs $17.60.