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Who Makes Kirkland Irish Whiskey? (2022 Updated)

Last Updated on June 15, 2022 by Lydia Martin

The Kirkland liquor line has offered some of the most affordable yet premium quality drinks for many years now. But despite their billions of sales every year, there is only a handful of information we know regarding their drinks.

Many associate Costco’s Kirkland Signature Canadian whisky and Kirkland Signature vodka with premium brands. But does Costco sell Jameson whiskey under their home brand? Who makes Kirkland Irish whiskey?

Who’s Making Kirkland Irish Whiskey?

Who's Making Kirkland Irish Whiskey?

The alleged maker of Kirkland Irish Whiskey is the Irish Distillers Ltd. (IDL). But just like most Kirkland brands, there is no official confirmation from Costco regarding their supplier.

For instance, we know that Alexander Murray supplied Costco’s Kirkland Signature Scotch whiskies because their president and CEO confirmed it during an interview in 2016. Although Costco remains passive about their supplier, you will still notice the Alexander Murray label in the bottles of their Kirkland Scotch.

In the case of Kirkland Irish Whiskey, the only information we can gather in their bottles is that MISA Imports handles the importation of this Kirkland brand liquor. But what makes Irish Whiskey different?

Does Costco Make Kirkland Irish Whiskey?

No, Costco does not make the Kirkland Irish Whiskey. The company focuses on selling the Kirkland brand products they procured from undisclosed third-party producers. Hiding their original manufacturers most probably makes Costco booze bargains even more intriguing to their consumers.

It is a popular nationwide grocery chain alongside Trader Joe’s, Target, and Walmart. Some speculations regarding the Kirkland signature brand spirits state that Kirkland Vodka is the same as Grey Goose, and the Kirkland Irish Cream is the same as Baileys.

In addition, Kirkland Tequila shares the same distillery as Cielo Tequila, leading many people to associate the products.

The Company That Supplies It (Allegedly)

The Company That Supplies It (Allegedly)

As mentioned, the Irish Distillers Ltd (IDL) is the alleged supplier of the Kirkland Brand Irish Whiskey. The distillery is under Pernod Ricard, one of the world’s largest liquor producers, making it the only Irish distillery to have the capacity and volume to supply Costco.

It is already common for Costco to partner with well-known liquor companies and distilleries such as Alexander Murray and Macallan Distillery for their Kirkland Scotch. They also source Costco’s Canadian whisky from the same distillery as Crown Royal. 

On the other hand, Tennessee Distilling bottled the Kirkland Tennessee whiskey, while Jim Beam is responsible for the Kirkland Bourbon or their small-batch bourbon expression.

What People Suspect Who Makes It

What People Suspect Who Makes It

Jameson Irish Whiskey

One of the wonders for many whiskey enthusiasts is probably, “Is Kirkland Irish whiskey from Jameson?” Jameson whiskey is perhaps the most popular Irish whiskey in the market, made by the same alleged distillery that makes Kirkland Irish whiskey.

However, Jameson is more expensive than the Kirkland brand whiskey. It also has a sweeter flavor profile and a smoother finish. 

Crown Royal

Crown Royal

Kirkland’s Canadian whisky and Crown Royal are produced in the same Gimli Distillery in Canada. Both distilled spirits almost have the same flavor profile that is hard to distinguish in a blind tasting test. These similarities led to more speculations connecting another Kirkland whiskey to Crown Royal.

But Kirkland Signature Irish whiskey follows the whiskey-making guidelines of Ireland, not Canada.

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Where Does Kirkland Irish Whiskey Gets Distilled?

Kirkland Irish Whiskey gets distilled in Ireland. It is one of the regulations set by the Irish Whiskey Act of 1950 [1]. Although whiskey/whisky can be produced globally, some varieties must follow certain regulations according to their country of origin. 

For example, Kirkland Small Batch Bourbon is a whiskey product exclusively produced in the United States. Other distilled spirits like Kirkland Vodka, which is often associated with Grey Goose, have easier guidelines to follow. Although it is unclear who makes Costco Irish Whiskey, we can be sure that it came from Ireland. 

Fun Facts About Kirkland Irish Whiskey

Fun Facts About Kirkland Irish Whiskey

How It’s Made

According to law, it is necessary to age Irish whiskey in new or previously filled barrels for at least three years. These barrels may have already been used to age sherry, rum, or bourbon. 

However, this Kirkland booze is a triple distilled whiskey that has been aged for at least four years using oak casks. 

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Key Ingredients

Key Ingredients

Again, different countries have different guidelines regarding their whiskey-making process and labeling. This Costco whiskey used fine malt and grain during production based on its bottle label. It makes Kirkland whiskey rich and smooth on the palate.

There are also speculations that this liquor contains a pot still whiskey, consisting of a minimum of 30% malted, 30% unmalted barley, and an additional 5% other cereals [2].

It Doesn’t Have a Certificate of Label Approval (COLA)

This whiskey is not on the list of COLA registries posted on the official website of TTB. However, it is subject to having a “Certificate of Origin, Age and Conformity with the Immature Spirits Acts for Spirits Exported To.” It is a requirement for imported distilled spirits coming from the Republic of Ireland.[3]

Blended or Malted?

Blended or Malted?

This liquor is likely a blended whiskey. As blended Irish whiskey consists of malt and grain whiskeys, there are also assumptions that the liquor contains a Single Pot Still. It is a quintessential Irish whiskey style that pays homage to its country of origin. 

Since the Kirkland Signature Irish whiskey contains a grain whiskey blended into the liquor, then it does not fall under the Single Malt whiskey category. But what’s the best Irish Whiskey to drink straight?

FAQs

How much is Kirkland Irish whiskey?

Kirkland Signature Irish Whiskey is available at around $28 for a bottle of 1.75 Liters. The product is triple-distilled and aged for four years. Many experts also believe that it is a blended whiskey combining grain whiskey and a single pot still with a small amount of malt whiskey.

Does Kirkland Irish whiskey come from Ireland?

Yes, Kirkland Irish whiskeys come from Ireland. It is one of the requirements to bear the Irish Whiskey name on its bottle label.

In Summary

Irish Distillers Ltd. allegedly makes Kirkland Irish whiskey because of its volume and capacity to supply Costco. The company does not make its own whiskey or any other products they sell. Costco only enters into partnerships with different manufacturers to supply their goods.

Some of their products are often mistaken for premium brands like Grey Goose French Vodka and Jameson’s best-selling Irish whiskey. Their Kirkland Signature Blended Canadian whisky came from the same facility as Crown Royal, while Alexander Murray partners with different Scottish distilleries to supply Kirkland’s Scotch.

References:

  1. https://www.thespruceeats.com/irish-whiskey-basics-760222 
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemicallef/2021/07/15/why-you-should-buy-costcos-kirkland-signature-whiskies/
  3. https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-27/chapter-I/subchapter-A/part-5

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