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:
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).
(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.
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.
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!