Beloved the world over, whiskey has a storied history, a versatile flavor profile, and, in many cases, a premium price tag. Costco’s reputation is for selling products in huge quantities on everything from sheet cakes to granola bars.
The world’s fifth-largest retailer also sells its alcohol brand, including an entire line of whiskeys. Here are 15 things to know before buying Costco whiskey!
15 Things To Know Before Buying Costco Whiskey In 2023
1. Costco Sells Its Whiskey Under The Kirkland Signature Brand
If you were expecting Costco to come up with a faintly Irish or Scottish-sounding brand name for its house whiskey line, you’d be disappointed.
Instead, all Costco’s whiskeys are sold under the Kirkland Signature label, the same as other products you can find in the store.
2. Costco Whiskey Is Part Of A Sizeable Family Of Spirits
Forbes reports that Costco sells over 50 spirits under its Kirkland Signature label, including:
- And lots of wine!
Basically, if you were starting a home bar from scratch, you could visit your local liquor-selling Costco and be able to fill it out pretty nicely for a reasonable price.
Even better, most of the alcohol Costco sells under its Kirkland Signature label (whiskey included) is sourced from more famous brands.
3. There Are About Ten Types Of Costco Whiskey
Costco generally keeps four Scotch whiskies, three types of bourbon, and a whiskey from Ireland, Canada, and Tennessee, in stock, for a total of ten options.
Further, some whiskey examples include:
- Blended Scotch whisky (aged 12 years)
- Canadian Blended whisky (oak cask-aged)
Additionally, there’s even a Kirkland Signature Small Batch Bourbon by Barton 1792 Master Distillers, which states the maker right on the label.
4. The Prices On Costco Whiskey Are Hard To Pass Up
Initially, I wasn’t so sure prices for these whiskies were that much better than what you’d find in a liquor store, but the Internet has proven me wrong.
For example, Forbes pointed out that the aforementioned Canadian whisky is quite likely a Crown Royal product.
If so, you can find the same amount of Kirkland Signature whisky for under $30, and in some cases, less than $20, while the name brand stuff costs about $40-50.
Further, the same article compares the Kirkland Signature Irish whiskey to the King of Irish Whiskeys, Jameson.
With that, Costco’s will set you back around $30 for 1.75L, while that same amount of Jameson can cost twice as much in some markets.
Finally, let’s compare the Kirkland Signature Tennessee whiskey, which costs between $20-30 for 1.75L, and its name-brand counterpart, Jack Daniel’s.
Usually, Jack Daniel’s retails between $40 and $50 in stores for the same amount. So yet again, Costco’s whiskey can save you $20 to $30 for a bottle.
Also, Costco’s Kirkland Signature whiskeys all tend to follow the pattern of being priced $20-30 less than the name brands that you’d find in a liquor store.
Even better, Costco can beat prices when it comes to its name-brand stuff, too.
For example, the Costco Connoisseur found a 1.75L bottle of Johnny Walker Red Whisky, which usually retails for $49.90 in liquor stores, at Costco for only $28.89.
5. There’s One Major Price Outlier When It Comes To Costco Whiskey
One bottle of whisky at Costco that you can likely pass on? A $30,000 (you read that right) bottle of Balvenie single malt Scotch, aged 50 years.
Apparently, this bottle appeared in a Washington, DC location in May 2021, but there’s no word yet if there were any buyers.
6. Asterisks Are Your Friend When Shopping Costco Whiskey
If you’re especially in need of a value whiskey from Costco, try looking for shelf price tags that have an asterisk in the upper right-hand corner.
With that, that’s the symbol for “on clearance” or “last bit in stock.”
So, keep your eyes peeled because not only will it be an even better deal, it’s also your sign you might want to grab a few to last you for a while.
7. Costco’s Return Policy Does Not Apply To Whiskey
Costco has a very generous return policy. For example, you can even return a half-eaten sheet cake if you feel the quality is lacking and want your money back.
But, one product that doesn’t come with refunds? Alcohol, including Costco’s Kirkland Signature whiskey.
Unfortunately, if it didn’t meet your exacting standards, you’re out $30. But, that’s still better than being stuck with a $60 bottle of whiskey you didn’t love.
8. The Retailer Is Home To Some Of The Costco Whiskey Manufacturers
While some of Costco’s Kirkland Signature whiskey manufacturers put their names on the labels, most don’t.
For example, one major brand to go ahead and out itself is Kirkland Signature Small Batch Bourbon by Barton 1792 Master Distillers.
However, Costco has remained fairly secretive for most of the other whiskeys and what companies manufacture the products.
9. Some Internet Sleuths Think They Know Who Makes Costco Whiskey
Costco’s Kirkland Signature whiskeys are the topic of much Internet debate, but in a few cases, at least, the identity of the manufacturers seems to be settled.
For example, at Thrillist, Internet sleuths and the expert alike agree that the Premium Small Batch Bourbon is likely from George Dickel.
On the other hand, the Blended Scotch Whisky has a few contenders, notably Tullibardine or Dewar’s.
Also, the Canadian whisky has been cited as a product of Crown Royal, while the Irish whiskey is, in Forbes’ opinion, the product of Irish Distillers Ltd.
10. Costco Whiskey Blended Scotch Is Pretty Respectable
A good Scotch is the perfect way to unwind, but is Kirkland Signature Blended Scotch any good?
In this case, Food For Net says the Scotch’s popularity is a good indication.
Further, the author finds the flavor to be “thick and rich,” with “notes of toffee, mashed grain, and cereal,” plus “softer notes of honey and vanilla.”
In all, the author summarizes, in addition to being eminently sippable, it’s also the perfect mixer for cocktails.
11. Expect The Company To Rotate The Costco Whiskey Selection
Costco knows that novelty can go a long way, so it tends to rotate its whiskey stock.
Recently, Costco introduced three new Kirkland Signature bourbon whiskeys, a small-batch, a bottled-in-bond, and a single barrel.
Despite their fancy-sounding names, they were released in 1L bottles for only $20-25 per bottle, depending on your location.
12. It’s Worth Trying Costco Whiskey New Releases
The Whiskey Wash gave all three whiskeys from Costco high marks, commending each one for its balance and roundness of flavor.
No surprise, though, because they’re the product of the Barton 1792 distillery (and even say so on the label).
Even if you don’t know the distiller, though, why not go for it when Costco comes out with a new whiskey to try? The price is always right!
13. You Don’t Have To Be A Member To Buy Costco Whiskey
Costco is usually a members-only club warehouse, but 14 states (of the 33 with Costcos) allow shoppers to buy alcohol from any store that sells it.
For example, these states include:
- New York
14. Some Customers Can Get Costco Whiskey Delivered
In some states, Costco allows you to buy whiskey and other alcohol and have it delivered right to your door.
Further, these states include:
- North Carolina
So, the next time it’s pouring rain, too hot to move, or snowing like crazy, and you just can’t bring yourself to Costco, Costco can bring your order to you!
15. Stock Up On Costco Whiskey If You Need To
Another nice feature about Costco whiskey is that you aren’t limited in how much you buy, except by your wallet.
Moreover, this is especially good to know if you find your favorite whiskey is on clearance because you’re within your rights to snatch up the remaining bottles.
To find out more, you can also see our posts on whether or not Costco delivers alcohol, buying liquor at Costco, and the things to know before buying Costco pizza.
Costco whiskey has a reputation for excellence and value, and it’s not difficult to see why.
In keeping with the spirit of warehouse bulk shopping, customers pick up larger bottles that cost the same as, and sometimes less than, much smaller ones in liquor stores.