We all know that Costco is a great place to save money on all your favorite bulk items. But did you know that the big-box retailer also sells liquor?
Read on to learn the 15 things you need to know before buying Costco liquor, including all about Kirkland and other brands.
Once you know these tips, you will never shop for your alcohol the same way again!
15 Things To Know Before Buying Costco Liquor
1. Costco Has a Low Price Markup on Liquor
When compared to other retailers, Costco has a lower retail markup of about 10 to 14 percent, where other liquor stores charge a 25 and 45 percent markup.
Because of this, your next bottle of wine will cost less at Costco, and you can get a much bigger bottle for the same price as smaller bottles from other stores.
The lower price markup means they make a smaller profit on each bottle, but they make up for it in bulk sales and repeat business from loyal customers.
2. Costco’s Liquor Selection Is Unmatched
Costco has an incredible Kirkland liquor selection in addition to more well-known brand names. They even carry some luxury brands too. So, anything you want to drink, you can get under the Kirkland label for less.
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3. Costco Carries Brand-Name Liquor Dupes
Costco’s Kirkland products are often made at the same places using the same recipes as the higher-end brands.
If you look at the back of the liquor bottle, it may tell you who the distributors are, giving you a hint at its brand-name counterpart.
Below are the name brands behind the Kirkland spirits, or so it is believed (however, this has not been confirmed).
- Gordon Biersch (Kirkland beer)
- Alexander Murray and Macallan Distillery (Kirkland scotch)
- Jim Beam (Kirkland bourbon and rum)
- Grey Goose (Kirkland vodka)
- Cielo (Kirkland tequila)
Keep those name brands in mind the next time you try a Kirkland spirit as you may want to try a taste test yourself!
4. Costco Also Has Kirkland Wine
Here is an incredible little-known secret: Costco’s wines are made at leading wineries with the same grapes high-end wines use.
Like with spirits, read that label for clues as to how the wine is being produced. You can save yourself quite a bit of money by going with the Kirkland brand instead of Champagne Janisson & Fils and Champagne de Bruyne, for example.
In fact, Kirkland wine is sourced from the same vineyards as some of your favorite brands, including the vineyards below.
- Domaine de Nalys
- Kunde Estate
- Girard Winery
- Taylor Fladgate
5. Costco Has Top-Shelf Wine and Liquor Available
Did you know that you can get Dom Pérignon at Costco? Check out the liquor section for surprising brands when you want to splurge on in between Kirkland bottles.
Costco even carries limited edition products for the collectors in your life. Shop with a keen eye, and you may find a treasure on your monthly (or weekly) liquor run.
6. You Can Sometimes Shop Costco Liquor Without a Membership
Regulations in the following 12 states do not require you to have a membership to purchase liquor from Costco:
Simply walk in and tell the employee at the front door that you are there to buy liquor, and you will be able to purchase liquor without a membership.
If you are not in one of these states and you do not have a membership, it does not hurt to try. Or, you can get a Costco membership.
7. Liquor Selections Vary by Costco Location
The type of liquor you can buy at Costco may vary by state, as some states have regulations that prohibit alcohol sales outside of a liquor store. T
his mostly applies to hard liquor, and you will likely be able to buy beer and wine regardless of your state.
Also, keep in mind that you may not be able to buy liquor before certain times or on certain days.
These restrictions are dependent on the state, so you will need to check your local regulations to find out exactly what is available at your closest Costco location.
8. Costco Has Liquor Gift Baskets Available
All year-round, you can snag gift baskets at your favorite Costco, complete with popular liquor brands. If you need to snag a housewarming gift or just surprise someone with something special, you can grab these pre-made gifts!
There are even more gift baskets available around the holidays. These seasonal baskets include advent calendars and holiday liquors to help you give the best for less.
9. Clearance Items Have Asterisks
When you are looking to buy anything at Costco, including wine and liquor, keep an eye out for asterisks on the sign.
Usually, this will be on the top right-hand corner. The asterisk indicates that the product is on clearance.
That means it is marked down and priced to move! If it is your favorite, be sure to stock up. Clearance items do not get restocked, so snatch those items while they last.
10. Costco Restocks Liquor Early
Costco restocks its shelves early and often! They restock daily starting at 4 a.m., so if you are looking for a favorite spirit and it is out of stock, you can always check back the next day.
11. There Is a Better Time to Buy Liquor at Costco
Costco has great deals all the time, but did you know statistically, it is cheaper to buy liquor during the week?
- Liquor and wine are cheaper on Mondays and Tuesdays
- The timing of sales make liquor and wine cheaper on weekdays than on weekends
- Weekend buying usually costs more due to convenience
It is good to keep this fact in mind the next time you plan a trip to Costco. Get your liquor shopping done during the week to save money.
12. Costco Can Deliver Liquor to Your Home
Through Instacart, you can get same-day delivery on your favorite Costco liquor and wine.
This is not available at all Costco stores, so you will need to check your app or on the Instacart website to see if it is available in your area.
Of course, you will need to provide your ID upon delivery to ensure you are of legal drinking age. To learn more, you can see my full guide on getting alcohol delivered from Costco.
13. Costco Provides Crates for Large Liquor Purchases
Costco leaves empty boxes at the front of the store for anyone to take. Likewise, the empty wine crates are yours for the taking as well.
This is especially important if you are buying multiple bottles, as it will help you carry them out of the store. So keep your eye out for those empty crates as they come in handy with your bulk wine purchases.
14. Costco Liquor Returns Vary by State
You may not be able to return your liquor to Costco, even if the bottles are unopened. This has nothing to do with Costco’s return policy and everything to do with your particular state’s regulations.
You can call your store before you shop to see if your state allows liquor returns.
If you find yourself with wine or liquor you cannot return, you can always give it away as a gift or drink it with a new recipe!
15. Costco’s Liquor Sales Are Booming
Despite those smaller price markups, Costco’s liquor business is growing by leaps and bounds. Costco had more than $4 billion in liquor sales in 2019, and that number is rising year over year.
Because it is so lucrative, Costco continues to expand its selection. The company is always bringing in better brands and refining their Kirkland wine and spirits to offer their customers the best for less.
For more information, you can see our post on Costco statistics and trends, which gives interesting insights into this beloved brand.