Drinks

The 25 Best Costco Liquors, Wines & Beers You Should Buy

Grocery-store whisperer Katie Workman makes a case for stocking up on booze while you're at the warehouse.

September 19, 2019
Photo by Bobbi Lin

For years I’ve been well aware that Costco has great prices on food and garbage bags and books and dog beds … but I didn’t know that they were also rock stars in the world of liquor and wine. I also didn’t know that in some states you don’t even need a Costco card to buy alcohol in their stores, which are usually separate from their main warehouses for legal reasons. (Check with your local Costco to find out if that’s the case for you.)

While in some cases the pricing is just as competitive, and in others it’s a downright steal, you can’t lose by buying your booze at Costco. Their selection is limited, though, so if you’re looking for something in particular, then you might not be able to get that exact brand, vintage, or appellation. But if you’re simply in the market for some vodka or whiskey or wine, say, for a party or wedding (or just your day-to-day), then you should be able to fill your bar with some very reasonably priced bottles.

Not only does Costco have great prices on name-brand booze, but they also have their very own line of wines (looking at you, Kirkland Chardonnay). Most of their liquors get amazing reviews, too, and for good reason. They are of high quality, and priced to move.

Here’s what I found on my last few spins around the Costco liquor store:


Best Costco Liquor, Wine & Beer

Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label Brut, a consistently loved non-vintage champagne, is listed for $59 on the Veuve Cliquot website, but was only $47.99 at Costco. This particular bottle is one of the barometers that my husband and I use to judge whether a wine store is overpriced or well-priced. If you want to splurge, but still feel like you’re getting a deal on champagne, grab a bottle of Dom Perignon for $149.99 (often tens of dollars more).

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Top Comment:
“I cried when the anejo disappeared from our warehouse. The older Malbec was better - but always a fun adventure tripping through the alcohol aisles at Costco.”
— grimlin
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(Come holiday season, you can bet I’ll be loading up on a case of bubbly to pair with Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraiche Puff Pastry Tartlets and Lamb Crostini with Spiced Crème Fraiche and Herbs when we have guests over.)

Another one of our “yardstick” wines is the ever popular Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio. At our wine store in N.Y.C. (where bargains are nonexistent), this wine is $29.99, but at Costco? $19.98.

Stag’s Leap Chardonnay Karia was $24.99 for a bottle, at least several bucks less than the same wine in other wine stores. La Crema Pinot Noir 2016 from the Sonoma Coast was over $10 less than many competing online shops at $22.99.

Moving Into Kirkland Wine Country ...

The Kirkland Malbec from Argentina is $6.99, produced especially for Costco and, according to Business Insider, their best red. Other reds on offer are a Cabernet Sauvignon from California for $7.99, and a Rioja from Spain for $6.99.

(All perfect for drinking, of course, but also for making Steak Diane or braising brisket.)

As for whites, they don’t measure up quite as strongly—but those prices! Pinot Grigio from Fruili, Italy is $5.89, the California Pinot Grigio is $7.89, and Prosecco is $6.99 (hello, pretty pitcher of Sparkling Rosé Berry Sangria or Cranberry-Orange Shrub). And if you’re going for volume, they have several 1.5-liter bottles—the double bottle of California Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio is $7.99.

(Ideal for making an easy Chicken with White Wine Pan Sauce on a weeknight, a pot of Lamb Stew with White Wine, Orange and Fennel on a weekend, or a Chicken Marbella for the holidays.)

Costco makes beer, too

A 24-bottle variety pack of several different craft beer styles retails for $19.99, from Kolsh to pale ale.

Liquor is where you can really save money

The house brands come up super strong when it comes to Costco liquor.

Take vodka, for instance. There's a lot of scuttlebutt on the internet about the Kirkland French vodka being made by the same company as Grey Goose, and/or maybe the same water source (though Grey Goose denies this).

Whether this is true or not, two other things are fact: Imported Kirkland vodka has done exceptionally well in a bunch of vodka taste tests, and it’s way cheaper than the premium brands, $19.99 for 1.75 liters (the same size bottle of Grey Goose starts at around $50). And this is without taking into account the many experts and vodka drinkers who say that all vodkas basically taste the same—so hold your cash for booze with more flavor nuances.

Not convinced? Buy a 1.75-liter bottle of Tito’s for a solidly priced $30.99, or Kettle One for $32.99.

Other great Kirkland liquor buys: A 1-liter bottle of aged Kirkland Signature Anejo tequila (possibly made in the same place as Ed Hardy tequila) is $19.99; a 1.75-bottle of blended Scotch whisky is $22.99; a 1.75-liter bottle of London dry gin is $25.49 (it’s still gin and tonic season!), and a 1-liter bottle of small-batch bourbon is $29.99 (hot toddy season is coming soon).

Finally, the fancy stuff

Moving back into the non-Kirkland name brands, and also up into higher ground, there are some dramatic savings to be found.

Hennessy 250th Cognac Collector’s Blend: Because of its high price tag, this was one of the most dramatic “steals” on offer in the Connecticut store I visited. A 1-liter bottle was priced at $500.25, which at first seemed crazy expensive, until I looked it up in other stores and found it for $700 and up. Cognac aficionados, spend your dollars here.

If highbrow tequila is your jam, you may want to take home a bottle of Patron Gran Piedra. 750 milliliters of this liquid gold can be yours for $268.00. According to winesearcher.com, the average sale price of this tequila is well north of $300.

Whistle Pig 15 Year-Old Rye Whiskey: A 750-milliliter bottle of this Vermont rye whiskey runs around $200 in most stores, but Costco is selling it for $163.99. Still a definite splurge, but significant savings. Also according to winesearcher.com, the average price for the same size bottle of Suntory Toki Whiskey is $39. At Costco, $33.99.

So there you have it. Costco’s got the goods when it comes to boozy bargains. Salut, cheers, prost, geonbae, drink up, and here’s mud in your eye!

What’s your favorite liquor, wine, or beer to buy at Costco? Let us know in the comments below.

For more unsponsored grocery-store love letters like this one, click here.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Toddie
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Author of The Mom 100 Cookbook and themom100.com blog. A New Yorker, cook, and mom, I don't sit still very much.

10 Comments

Toddie October 15, 2019
I agree with Jan re the Irish Cream. We did a blind taste test in our office comparing it to Bailey's and, out of seven people, only one chose the Baileys. We found that the Kirkland Irish Cream was smoother with less of an alcohol bite.
 
Jan F. October 13, 2019
Love the Kirkland Irish Cream Liqueur. A tad less sweet than Bailey’s and considerably less money for a bigger bottle! Also have had success with Kirkland champagne.
 
Aderoian September 23, 2019
Costco discontinued its Kirkland Signature Anejo :(. It was good and a great price. Sadly, there is as of yet no replacement at that price point.
 
Cookie September 22, 2019
Not to be a booze snob, but you guys really missed the mark on this one. The Kirkland liquors are NOT a bargain; they are not comparable in quality to the majority of name brands. Costco best buys are the highly discounted, high quality "good stuff" averaging $10-50 less than anywhere else. For instance, Don Julio 1949 tequila is $120, but $160 everywhere else; 1.75 litre of Patron silver $70 at Cosctco, $104 at BevMo.; 1.75 litre of Hendricks or other good dry gin always $20 less than even BevMo; and please, please forget Tito's, that's the worst vodka on the market, made with corn. Get the Stolichnaya, Grey Goose or Absolute for between $12 and $25 less than other places. A litre of Buillet bourban or rye is $20 less than even Trader Joe's, Campari or Fernet Branca is $18.00 to everyone else's $25-$30; same is true of all the best whiskeys, wherever they are from -- Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Kentucky. As for wine, forget the bland pino grigios and get some big California Chardonnays like Kendall Jackson ($13.50), Gainey Vineyards ($15), Sonoma Cutrer ($20) or Cambria - Katherine's Vinyard ($16) -- everywhere else $28, $18, $25, and $26, respectively. As for Cabernets, you cannot go wrong with Daou ($20), Justin ($20), Sean Minor ($19), Stag's Leap - Artemis ($52) and of course the BV Tapestry Reserve ($65), which are $25, $25, $25 $65, and $95, respectively, everywhere else. Same is true of the Pinot Noirs. I could keep going...
 
cosmiccook October 8, 2019
Cookie its Don Julio 1942--not 1949. $120 is the going rate in the New Orleans area. I did see the '42 in Chicago a few years back at $95 and kicked ourselves for not getting it (it wasn't sold in NO). We do buy their gin ($17 in NO) and they carry our favorite local small-batch gin for $24--anywhere from $4-10 cheaper than other local shops. We don't get the good foods you get in NY or other large markets.
 
Taco October 19, 2019
I purchased the 1942 a couple years ago in Delaware Costco for $90
There Kirkland Brand Whiskey and Vodka are great deals. You have to price check the other brands
 
Lynsey B. September 19, 2019
Maybe stop spreading the untrue rumor that Grey Goose manufactures Kirkland Vodka since it is in fact just “scuttlebutt on the internet.”
 
grimlin September 19, 2019
I cried when the anejo disappeared from our warehouse. The older Malbec was better - but always a fun adventure tripping through the alcohol aisles at Costco.
 
Aderoian September 23, 2019
Me too! I actually tracked down the last cases before it was gone.
 
tastysweet September 19, 2019
One of our favorite Kirkland wines, is Carneros Pinot Noir. Right now it’s the 2017 vintage going for $9.98/bottle. When it’s gone it’s gone.