The Real Companies Behind Your Favorite Costco Alcohol

Costco has carved a niche as a one-stop-shop for quality affordable products, thanks largely to its in-house Kirkland Signature brand. Considered a better alternative to popular household names by many consumers, Kirkland Signature accounted for a quarter of Costco's total revenue in 2021. Unsurprisingly, the brand's food and beverage offerings are where it truly shines, particularly its impressively varied alcohol selection. In fact, with numerous in-house and brand name alcohol options, Costco was the world's largest overall retailer of spirits and brews in 2023 – yet it doesn't manufacture a single drop of alcohol sold under the Kirkland Signature banner.

Behind the scenes, Costco partners with various winemakers, distilleries, and other companies to produce and sell its line of alcoholic beverages. Now, Costco isn't the only retailer that employs this type of outsourcing strategy (wait until you see the brands behind Trader Joe's snacks). It also doesn't freely disclose its manufacturing partners for many of Kirkland Signature alcohol products — but the information is out there. With that in mind, we did some digging and managed to uncover some of the brands behind popular Kirkland Signature spirits. Here are the real companies behind Costco alcohol.

Wine – Multiple companies

Costco's wine selection can impress even the staunchest oenophiles. You can experience the world in one visit, and there's enough to make your glass overfloweth for days. Kirkland Signature wines generally receive positive reviews from members, as well, who say the taste is better than expected. Of course, there's a broad network of winemakers behind Costco's Kirkland Signature wines.

For starters, E. & J. Gallo Winery was revealed as a manufacturer of Kirkland Signature's California wines in 2020. When we dove deeper into the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau registry, we uncovered a number of additional companies listed alongside Kirkland Signature's other wine varieties, as well. While we can't say for certain which winemaker is behind each bottle (the registry doesn't note which product it's referring to), the following companies were listed as manufacturers for Kirkland Signature wines: MISA Imports, Inc. in Dallas, Texas, the Stamford, Connecticut-based Ethica Wines, Delicato Vineyards in Manteca, California, and Plata Wine Partners in American Canyon, California.

Cotes de Provence Rosé – Familie Sumeire

Certain wines suit certain situations. When the moment calls for a lighter touch, the Kirkland Signature Cotes de Provence Rosé is one of Costco's popular go-to options. But unlike other Kirkland Signature wines — which don't reveal the precise winemaker — this light-bodied favorite says it right on the label. It's made by Olivier Sumeire (of Familie Sumeire), who comes from eight generations of winemakers from the Cotes de Provence Appellation region.

The Cotes de Provence Rosé branding is elevated compared to the general Kirkland Signature selection, and it's clear that Familie Sumeire's reputation for excellence is a selling point. After all, Costco also offers another sparkling rosé wine with a much less fanciful label. The Cotes de Provence Rosé is a balanced blend of grapes that includes grenache, cinsault, syrah, vermentino, carignan, tibouren, and ugni blanc. A combination of strawberry, melon, citrus, and peach is a good way to describe how the blend coalesces, while a bit of saltiness rounds it out.

Hard Seltzer – Patco Brands (rumored)

When it comes to Kirkland Signature Hard Seltzer, the consensus opinion is that Patco Brands is the manufacturer of this bubbling brew (that's the best guesstimate among online experts, at least). Patco specializes in private-label beverage development and has an impressive client list that includes Kroger, Target, Meijer, and Whole Foods Market. Even if its production of hard seltzer for Costco is unconfirmed, one thing's for sure: Patco has a reputation for brewing quality spirits, with the company winning more than 30 awards in 2022 alone, including a Los Angeles Spirits Award.

Kirkland Signature Hard Seltzer is no exception, as it's often compared to White Claw in terms of taste and quality (some consumers enjoy it more). Costco's in-house hard seltzer makes a great alternative for those who want the White Claw taste but not the cost. After all, while prices vary depending on your location, a 24-pack of White Claw generally costs much more than the same-sized pack of Kirkland Signature Hard Seltzer.

Champagne Brut – Thibaut-Janisson

It's never a bad time to pop open a bottle of Champagne, especially if you're in a celebratory mood. Of course, Costco stocks a healthy selection of bubbly perfect for any occasion, such as the affordably priced Kirkland Signature Champagne Brut, which is made by Manuel Janisson (of Thibaut-Janisson). Now, if you're unfamiliar with the world of sparkling wine, the rule is that sparkling wine must be produced within 100 miles of Champagne, France to be labeled as such. Since Kirkland Signature Champagne Brut is produced in Verzenay, France (a small Champagne village), it qualifies.

Manuel Janisson comes from a long line of Verzenay-based winemakers and has a reputation for blending tradition with a modern approach. In other words, with Janisson behind the production, it makes perfect sense why the Costco's Champagne Brut — which has a flavor profile consisting of green apple and citrus – tastes surprisingly impressive for a Kirkland Signature bottle.

Tequila – Destilleria Santa Lucia

Costco knows the key to keeping customers happy is offering high-quality products at a low price, which is how its line of Kirkland Signature tequilas has amassed a loyal following. Unlike some other Costco-made alcohols, though, the all-purpose retailer reveals the manufacturer on the back label of its blanco and reposado tequila varieties: it's produced and bottled by Destilleria Santa Lucia, and imported into the U.S. by MPL Brands.

Destilleria Santa Lucia is located in Jalisco, Mexico and has more than eight decades of experience making tequila. Since tequila can't be made outside of Mexico, Destilleria Santa Lucia's involvement confirms that Kirkland Signature's products are authentic. Furthermore, MPL Brands is a beverage company that imports and distributes various blue agave-based alcohol products throughout the U.S. Costco isn't the only major company that works with MPL Brands, either, as it also produces ready-to-drink spirits for Target, Walmart, and Whole Foods (among others).

Vodka – Multiple companies

Costco sources alcohol from manufacturers around the world to offer the best bang for your buck. With that in mind, as discovered by various online sleuths, the California-based Levecke Corporation is behind Kirkland Signature American Vodka, while Kirkland Signature French Vodka is made in Douai, France by Gayant Distillery (according to its label).

Now, before the real companies behind these Costco alcohols were revealed, many speculated the French variety was actually rebottled Grey Goose given its similar taste and production location. However, this false rumor was eventually debunked in an official statement from Grey Goose, where it explicitly denied any association with Kirkland Signature-brand vodka.

Additionally, while the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau lists Levecke Corporation as the principal place of business for Kirkland Signature Vodka 80 – 90 Proof, it doesn't appear to receive the same love as the brand's French option from consumers. After all, while some believe Kirkland Signature French vodka is as good as premium vodkas that cost twice as much, the praise for the American Vodka was less prominent.

London Dry Gin – Tennessee Distilling

As recently as a few months ago, the maker behind the popular Kirkland Signature London Dry Gin remained a mystery to Costco customers. Ever curious, we decided to dust off the old Sherlock Holmes-style cape and magnifying glass and put our detective skills to use. After searching the trusty Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau registry, we found an application for the bottle's label was approved on March, 4, 2024, and it lists Tennessee Distilling as the manufacturer of Kirkland Signature London Dry Gin.

On the Tennessee Distilling website, it says that the company specializes in traditional sour mash whiskey, bourbon, rye, corn, and malt whiskeys. While it does not mention gin, based on the label approval, one can assume that it has expanded its offerings at some point to include the Costco-brand London dry gin. Either way, Kirkland Signature London Dry Gin has earned a reputation as a great value that's perfect for cocktails and frequent sippers, so it seems Tennessee Distilling is doing something right for Costco customers.

Scotch – Alexander Murray & Co.

Costco is surprisingly transparent about the company behind its Kirkland Signature Scotch selection. On each label, you'll clearly find "Alexander Murray & Co. Ltd, Aberdeen, Scotland" printed. In other words, we can easily verify Alexander Murray is the manufacturer of several Kirkland Signature Scotch whisky products – and the real company behind Costco's in-house Scotch varieties.

Now, while Alexander Murray has operations in both Florida and California, the Scotch whisky it produces for Costco is distilled and matured in Scotland (which is why it's spelled "whisky" rather than "whiskey"). This makes sense, of course, since Alexander Murray's Scottish roots date back to 1911. Simply put, the brand's reputation for attention to detail and quality can be found in its Kirkland Signature offerings. Some online reviewers believe the Kirkland Signature Scotch whiskies aren't particularly adventurous, but for the price and taste? The Costco brand is also tough to beat.

Blended Canadian Whisky – Crown Royal (rumored)

Although we know Alexander Murray is the company behind several popular Costco whiskies, there are some that it does not produce, like the Kirkland Signature Canadian Whisky. Curiosity always gets the best of fans online, though, who have come up with an interesting theory. While unconfirmed, rumor has it that Kirkland Signature Blended Canadian Whisky is made by Crown Royal — and may even be the same whisky as the name brand.

One supposed indicator is the eerily similar taste and nose, which is sweet and smooth. Kirkland's bottle has spicier notes, but some credit that distinction to the six years it spends in the barrel. Additionally, the slight difference may be because Crown Royal has an extensive catalog of aged whiskies, so it could be made with a different blend of spirits. Either way, even longtime Crown Royal fans tend to have positive things to say about Kirkland Signature Blended Canadian Whisky. Not only is it considerably cheaper, but it's also nearly indistinguishable when blended into cocktails according to some consumers.

Bourbon Casked Rum XO – Les Bienheureux

Similar to the aforementioned Cotes de Provence Rosé, Kirkland Signature partnered with master blender Olivier Dumont to produce its Bourbon Casked Rum XO. In fact, a deep dive wasn't necessary for this one, as Dumont's name is clearly printed on the back label of Kirkland Signature Bourbon Casked Rum XO. Dumont works for the France-based Les Bienheureux, a spirits company launched in 2015 that also produces the award-winning El Pasador De Oro rum.

Dumont's mastery is supported by the success of El Pasador De Oro and Bellevoye, another Les Beinheureux product that became France's bestselling whisky in an impressively short time span. El Pasador De Oro has received many awards, as well, including a double gold medal in the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Given the other products made by Les Bienheureux are widely praised, it's hardly surprising that some Costco members who've tasted both note the Kirkland Signature Bourbon Casked Rum XO is similar to El Pasador De Oro. What's more, both rums have the same bottle shape, furthering the comparisons between this Costco alcohol and the premium brand.

Irish whiskey – Multiple companies

We've established the (likely) company behind Kirkland Signature Blended Canadian Whisky, but what about its Irish whiskey? We know it's made somewhere in Ireland; similar to tequila, regulations restrict the term "Irish whiskey" solely to alcohol produced on the Emerald Isle. Additionally, while the label lists MISA Imports, Inc. (which is also responsible for several Kirkland Signature wines), that doesn't reveal the Irish whiskey's original location.

Still, one connoisseur of Irish spirits born and raised in Ireland may have discovered the distillery responsible for this Kirkland product after an investigation. The appropriately-named Irish Whiskey Lad searched the MISA Imports website and found the company also works with a popular Irish brand known as Mr. Whiskey. Mr. Whiskey is made by an Irish company named Terra Spirits & Liqueurs, which specializes in private-label manufacturing. While this does not confirm the company's involvement, it isn't far-fetched to assume Terra is the original source of Kirkland Signature Irish Whiskey.

Original spiced rum – Multiple companies

The London dry gin isn't the only Kirkland Signature product produced by Tennessee Distilling, as Costco makes the brand's original spiced rum, as well. Actually, when we initially investigated this bottle, we settled on Sazerac Company, Inc. as the responsible company because it's listed as the bottler and distributor on the label. But after searching the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for more information, we found Tennessee Distilling listed as the producer of Kirkland Spiced Rum — meaning Costco appears to work with both companies. 

Tennessee Distilling likely produces Kirkland Signature Original Spiced Rum, while Sazerac handles the bottling and distribution. Digging deeper, we learned that Sazerac built a distillery in Murfreesboro, Tennessee in 2018, which is located less than an hour away from Tennessee Distilling's location. Though this doesn't explicitly confirm the two companies mutually produce and distribute Kirkland Signature Original Spiced Rum, it's an interesting piece of information that adds further evidence.

Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey – Barton 1792

Costco has a keen eye for partnering with quality distilleries, as demonstrated by its Kirkland Signature Small Batch Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey. It's made by the award-winning brand Barton 1792, which specializes in small-batch production to ensure a consistent and reliable flavor profile. Barton 1792 also produces two other Costco varieties: the Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and the Bottled-In-Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

There's no denying Barton 1792's involvement as a producer — its name is printed on each label in large metallic font. Interestingly, though, Costco members who have compared actual Barton 1792 to the Kirkland Signature Small Batch say both carry similar tastes with a noticeable distinction: Barton 1792 has an aged mellowness whereas Kirkland has a youthful sweetness. Like other winemakers and distillers who Costco partners with, Barton 1792's reputation for quality elevates the Kirkland Signature brand, with some saying it's a great value buy for frequent sippers.