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#1
Old 12-21-2013, 12:48 AM
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Kirkland Signature brand (vodka etc.)

Okay, I've Googled the hell out of this, and I trust your research skills more than some random person on Yahoo Answers. There are old threads, but nothing definite. Kirkland is Costco's store brand, and it is known for being relatively cheap but also unusually high quality. They make lots of products, from food to alcohol, including beer, vodka, bourbon, Scotch, and tequila. From what I can tell, the bourbon is made by Jim Beam, but isn't necessarily identical to their white label. The Scotch is made by "The" Macallan (sic), and I see pics where is says so on the bottles. Tequila I don't care about because that stuff's horrible. Anyway:

There is a persistent rumor that French vodka distiller Grey Goose "makes" Kirkland vodka (the latter is cheaper). I see some possibilities:
  1. They are identical, and only the labels are different. This one sounds suspect, and the internet suggests that it's wrong.
  2. Grey Goose, or parent Bacardi, makes Kirkland in the same distillery, but the recipes aren't necessarily identical. Possibly.
  3. Kirkland vodka is actuallymade by a company called "WX Imports." Unknown whether GG has anything to do with it. Questions: if they import, maybe they don't make it? Also, if I google their name, only the first three results are speculatively relevant, the rest are talking about Python. Seems to be a dead end, but it is odd how such a rumor would start so specifically. If that's wineryexchange.com, they list being "partnered" with Costco, but no info on if they make it.

So, who makes (Costco) Kirkland Signature vodka? Any information on who makes other Kirkland products, if you want to add, is good.

Last edited by thelurkinghorror; 12-21-2013 at 12:49 AM.
#2
Old 12-21-2013, 01:48 AM
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Grey Goose is owned by Bacardi, and I don't thing Bacardi has any distribution deals with Costco. Costco says it comes from France, and here is a list of French vodkas. I think we can rule out Pinnacle, the candy bar of vodkas. Maybe Ciroc, Kuhl or Voli?
#3
Old 12-21-2013, 08:37 AM
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Gordon Biersch makes Kirkland Beer

As does the Matt Brewing Company.
#4
Old 12-21-2013, 10:19 AM
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Just noting, to avoid confusion, that there are two types of Kirkland Signature vodka. One is US-made, the other 'imported from France'.

Last edited by Ferret Herder; 12-21-2013 at 10:19 AM.
#5
Old 12-21-2013, 10:34 AM
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I would guess that most of Costco's liquor is made by the big boys- like Brown-Forman or Diageo- they're the ones who have the capacity to make house brand stuff cheaply, and have wide enough product listings to contract with Costco to provide all their liquor products. Probably Beam Inc, now that I think about it- they make Jim Beam and Pinnacle vodka, as well as a range of tequilas and other liquors. If this is true, it would make their Canadian Whiskey (if they sell it) close to Canadian Club, their rum is probably made by Cruzan or Ronrico, their tequila is probably made by Sauza, and their gin is probably similar to Gilbeys.

Last edited by bump; 12-21-2013 at 10:39 AM.
#6
Old 12-21-2013, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelurkinghorror View Post
They make lots of products...

So, who makes (Costco) Kirkland Signature vodka? Any information on who makes other Kirkland products, if you want to add, is good.
Costco doesn't make any of the products they sell, they are not a manufacturer. All Kirkland products are produced by manufacturers and labeled as Kirkland brands.

You will note that the wording on their products say "Distributed by Costco..." not manufactured. You can also see the statement (from a can of tuna) "Every Kirklland Signature product is guaranteed to meet or exceed the quality standards of the leading national brands." Because these products are produced by the major national brands.

Kirkland paper towels and toilet paper are made by Georgia Pacific, the paper towels are Brawny, the toilet paper is Angel Soft. I can personally confirm this as a family member makes the stuff.

Relabeling/branding is common in the US, there simply aren't the number of manufacturing plants for all of the various labels. There are 3 large warehouses in my town that are full of unlabeled Alaskan Salmon. There are only a few major canneries in Alaska. A local labeling and packaging company takes the unlabeled salmon and packages it under various brands, nothing is different about what is in the can, it is all the same stuff.

I used to be a manager at a plant that made organic fertilizers and we produced several brands, without the operation line stopping at all, insert Brand X bags into the bagger, behind that bags for Brand Y.
#7
Old 12-21-2013, 02:01 PM
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Don't you think that might be why he asked who makes the Kirkland products?

Last edited by Labrador Deceiver; 12-21-2013 at 02:02 PM.
#8
Old 12-21-2013, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Dallas Jones View Post
Kirkland paper towels and toilet paper are made by Georgia Pacific, the paper towels are Brawny, the toilet paper is Angel Soft. I can personally confirm this as a family member makes the stuff.
Probably not *exactly* the same, but similar. There are plenty of situations where house brands are made by a big name-brand manufacturer, and usually they're not quite up to the quality of the name-brand stuff, but meet whatever specs (cost included) that the house-brand buyer wants.

For example, Goodyear makes a lot of the house-brand tires in the country. They're not necessarily as technologically advanced or awesome as the Goodyear or Dunlop branded tires, but they're affordable and safe.

I suspect that because there's a limited number of paper mills that make toilet paper & paper towels that ALL house brands are GA Pacific, IP or Kimberly Clark. Same thing goes for stuff like motor oil- it's all pretty much Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, with the exception of a few boutique producers like Royal Purple and Redline. Similarly, I'm sure most detergent is made by P&G or Sun also.

If the product is exceedingly cheap, there may not be much reason to change the product (organic fertilizer, I suspect), but for others, there are definite reasons- branded scents, performance levels, etc...

Last edited by bump; 12-21-2013 at 02:31 PM.
#9
Old 12-21-2013, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallas Jones View Post
Costco doesn't make any of the products they sell, they are not a manufacturer. All Kirkland products are produced by manufacturers and labeled as Kirkland brands.
No need to be pedantic. The question is whether Kirkland TP is completely identical to Angel Soft or whether it is made by the same company by contract but not identical in form. FWIW, Kirkland TP seems somewhat rougher on the sphincter than the Quilted Northern they sell, but I don't know/remember how Angel Soft is in other stores.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferret Herder View Post
Just noting, to avoid confusion, that there are two types of Kirkland Signature vodka. One is US-made, the other 'imported from France'.
Interesting. Too bad they don't show prices (a range or whatever). I could've sworn that their vodka was rather expensive the first time I noticed it for sale ($40+? But that was a long time ago, so memory may be off), but later on seemed significantly less so. Maybe the local stopped selling the French one, or maybe I'm just not noticing since I gravitate towards the whiskey.

bump: I feel like I've seen them sell Canadian whisky, but can't say for certain. Website doesn't have it listed. If I don't have a false memory, I believe the bottle was shaped similar to some other brand. I can't recall gin at all, but I hope it would be better than Gilbeys. They have very expensive Hendrick's 1.75Ls. The tequila bottle doesn't appear to say. Their spiced rum doesn't say, but it does say "St. Croix Island", and it appears Cruzan is there, as well as a Captain Morgan's distillery, although they're headquartered in Jamaica.
#10
Old 12-21-2013, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Labrador Deceiver View Post
Don't you think that might be why he asked who makes the Kirkland products?
Yes, that is why I contributed first hand knowledge of the origin of their paper household products. Do you have something to contribute beyond snark?
#11
Old 12-21-2013, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelurkinghorror View Post
No need to be pedantic. The question is whether Kirkland TP is completely identical to Angel Soft or whether it is made by the same company by contract but not identical in form. FWIW, Kirkland TP seems somewhat rougher on the sphincter than the Quilted Northern they sell, but I don't know/remember how Angel Soft is in other stores.
Sorry, I did not intent to be pedantic, just wanted to make it clear that all of Costco's products are produced by other companies.

In answer to your perception of quality issues between Kirkland brands and the producer's product, at least for toilet paper it is not possible that the quality would be less for the Costco product.

Paper manufacturing produces huge rolls of product which are then sent to what is referred to as the converting plant. There it is cut into smaller rolls which are fed into machines that add the embossing pattern and wrapping and packaging.
It is not possible at the converting point to change anything about the formula other than the appearance. So the embossed pattern and sheet count might be different, the parent rolls are the same.

Last edited by Dallas Jones; 12-21-2013 at 04:08 PM.
#12
Old 12-21-2013, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelurkinghorror View Post
Interesting. Too bad they don't show prices (a range or whatever). I could've sworn that their vodka was rather expensive the first time I noticed it for sale ($40+? But that was a long time ago, so memory may be off), but later on seemed significantly less so. Maybe the local stopped selling the French one, or maybe I'm just not noticing since I gravitate towards the whiskey.
We just bought that exact vodka (the French import) a week ago, and it was $22.99 (western suburbs of Chicago, outside of Cook County) for a 1.75 liter bottle. They had Grey Goose right next to it, which was probably closer to $40 for maybe a 1.5 liter bottle - going on vague memory here. Since their pricing signs are often held up by magnets and can be occasionally bumped and moved around, it's possible a more pricey vodka's tag was above the Kirkland brand.

Last edited by Ferret Herder; 12-21-2013 at 04:31 PM.
#13
Old 12-21-2013, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallas Jones View Post
Yes, that is why I contributed first hand knowledge of the origin of their paper household products. Do you have something to contribute beyond snark?
I just thought it was weird that you would spend multiple paragraphs hammering home a point in a condensing as shit tone that the OP clearly understood to begin with. Don't act so surprised that someone would dare respond in kind.
#14
Old 12-21-2013, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferret Herder View Post
We just bought that exact vodka (the French import) a week ago, and it was $22.99 (western suburbs of Chicago, outside of Cook County) for a 1.75 liter bottle. They had Grey Goose right next to it, which was probably closer to $40 for maybe a 1.5 liter bottle - going on vague memory here. Since their pricing signs are often held up by magnets and can be occasionally bumped and moved around, it's possible a more pricey vodka's tag was above the Kirkland brand.
I just today purchased a 1.75 liter bottle of the American made Kirkland brand vodka in a Costco in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for $13.89. Distilled 6 times, if that matters, which I suspect it doesn't.

I was shopping for the Kirkland Signature Speyside 18 year old single malt, which I understand is distilled by The Macallan. The guy said they won't have any until the spring. "But I'm thirsty now!"
#15
Old 12-21-2013, 05:42 PM
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I wonder if that scotch is out at all the stores. I was going to swing by the Atlanta location tomorrow to grab a bottle for Christmas.

Bummer

Last edited by Labrador Deceiver; 12-21-2013 at 05:45 PM.
#16
Old 12-21-2013, 08:35 PM
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Big agricultural companies like Archer Daniels Midland or Midwest Grain will provide 190-proof neutral spirits by the railroad tank carload (or smaller quantities) that you can cut with the water of your choice and the bottle as your own vodka. Here is the PDF brochure from Midwest Grain that discusses their vodka, gin, bourbon and rye and corn whiskey products.

Last edited by Dewey Finn; 12-21-2013 at 08:35 PM.
#17
Old 12-21-2013, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
Big agricultural companies like Archer Daniels Midland or Midwest Grain will provide 190-proof neutral spirits by the railroad tank carload (or smaller quantities) that you can cut with the water of your choice and the bottle as your own vodka. Here is the PDF brochure from Midwest Grain that discusses their vodka, gin, bourbon and rye and corn whiskey products.
A LOT of artisanal vodka producers actually get ADM (or some other ethanol producer)'s ethanol, redistill it, filter it, cut it with glacier water, etc... They don't necessarily ferment and distill their own.

For that matter, a lot of boutique whiskey producers do the same- they buy unaged spirits from one of the larger distillers (like say MGP) and age it to their own specifications- including barrels, rickhouse position, time, etc...

A footnote; MGP bought Lawrenceburg Distillers of Indiana (LDI), who produces quite a few well known products - Bulleit Rye, Dickel Rye, Templeton Rye, just to name a few. MGP's stuff isn't necessarily industrial swill, or if it is, it's high-grade industrial swill.
#18
Old 12-22-2013, 12:01 AM
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Is there a map of which states allow Costco to sell liquor and which do not? In Colorado there isn't any Kirland alcohol.
#19
Old 12-22-2013, 12:28 AM
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Texas allows beer and wine, but not spirits AFAIK. I'd bet it has to do with licensing.
#20
Old 12-22-2013, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by NoCoolUserName View Post
Is there a map of which states allow Costco to sell liquor and which do not? In Colorado there isn't any Kirland alcohol.
The non shitty states have booze. But seriously, probably those states who have alcohol control can't do it. I note that Colorado is not listed there, but they have their own weirdnesses, e.g. 3.2% ABW laws. Also, your local Costco may have not just decided it was worth selling. I have two local Costcos, both sell beer, but one of them did not sell "fancy" beer in 750mL or 22 oz. until recently, just 24 packs. Now both are magical.
#21
Old 12-22-2013, 06:57 AM
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The Costcos I've been to in Maryland and Virginia don't sell spirits, but the one in DC does.
#22
Old 12-23-2013, 03:58 AM
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What is So Special About "Pot"Stills?

I mean, all vodkas and gins are made in continuous stills, pot stills are slow, limited, and need to be cleaned out after every run. It is like hand setting printing type. Are any high quality whiskey's made in CS setups?
Alcohol is alcohol; and if you are triple distilling, it is hard to believe that the method makes any difference in the final product (which is mostly ageing).
#23
Old 12-23-2013, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by madmonk28 View Post
The Costcos I've been to in Maryland and Virginia don't sell spirits, but the one in DC does.
There's one in MD that sells liquor but I couldn't tell you where it is since I live near Delaware and go to the one in Christiana.

I read on another message board that Costco changed their toilet paper manufacturer a year or so ago and the quality has suffered since. I don't buy their tp so I can't speak to that, but they seemed to think it was made by Charmin. I guess not.

My local liquor store manager told me that Cruzan was bought out by Bacardi, so it would make sense if they made their rum. I like Cruzan so maybe I'll pick some up the next time I shop there.
#24
Old 12-23-2013, 10:05 PM
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I think it also depends on local ordinances. I know one Michigan Costco that sells booze and one that does not.


mmm
#25
Old 12-23-2013, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
I mean, all vodkas and gins are made in continuous stills, pot stills are slow, limited, and need to be cleaned out after every run. It is like hand setting printing type. Are any high quality whiskey's made in CS setups?
Alcohol is alcohol; and if you are triple distilling, it is hard to believe that the method makes any difference in the final product (which is mostly ageing).
Not to hijack too much, but column/continuous run stills make an extremely clean distillate in a single step- this is ideal for something like gin or vodka where the goal is to be flavorless or have the flavoring added later. It's not so ideal for spirits where the character of the raw materials are a major part of the flavor and aroma- i.e. whiskies, rum and brandies of all sorts. Pot stills are good for these because they pass a larger amount of congeners (chemical compounds from the wash that aren't water or ethanol) into the finished product.

That said, column stills can be run in ways that don't create such clean distillates, and are frequently used for Irish whiskeys, large-scale bourbons and rums.
#26
Old 12-24-2013, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard View Post
I think it also depends on local ordinances. I know one Michigan Costco that sells booze and one that does not.


mmm
Sometimes it's law, sometimes it's personal preference. I doubt the ones in say, Pennsylvania have hard alcohol, unless there's a state store inside. I have two local Costcos; both carried alcohol, wine, and 24+ packs of beer. 2 years ago, one started carrying nice beer but the other didn't until recently. I also see that Michigan is a control state as well, so it's likely similar where there is a mini state store inside, if my hunch is right. Costco has many semi-independent businesses inside like the optometrist (but not optician) and pharmacist. The people giving out samples aren't either (or is that just Sam's Club?)
#27
Old 02-08-2015, 05:16 PM
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Re.Kirkland paper products

Sorry, I dropped my post mid-sentence while looking for name of person, Dallas Jones, who has family member who makes Costco paper products for Georgia Pacific. Appreciate the info, but am sad because I try not to purchase anything made by Koch Industries. Trying to do the right thing is complicated.
#28
Old 02-10-2015, 02:57 PM
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I've just wondered why there is no Kirkland brand Gin.
#29
Old 02-10-2015, 03:37 PM
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Jim Sinegal doesn't like martinis maybe?
#30
Old 02-11-2015, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by BurnMeUp View Post
I've just wondered why there is no Kirkland brand Gin.
That's a good point. Gin is just vodka with the appropriate botanicals added. Herbs and spices and such. Juniper berries, coriander, orange peel, peppercorn, allspice, a bunch of stuff but nothing really exotic. If you can make private label vodka you can make gin.
#31
Old 02-11-2015, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by BurnMeUp View Post
I've just wondered why there is no Kirkland brand Gin.
Ask and ye shall receive....

It's apparently new- I googled "Kirkland Signature Gin" and saw the image. There's a reddit thread about it also.

Last edited by bump; 02-11-2015 at 11:36 AM.
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