There have been rumors surrounding Costco’s Kirkland products for the past few years. Some say that Crown Royal is similar to Kirkland Canadian Whiskey and that their Blended Scotch Whiskey comes from the same distillery as Johnnie Walker.
And probably the most famous is that Kirkland Vodka and Grey Goose are the same stuff. Many vodka enthusiasts still believe that, but is it true? Who makes Kirkland vodka?
Who Actually Makes Kirkland Vodka?
From the records of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), the distillery with Certificate of Label Approval for making Kirkland Brand Vodka is the LeVecke Corp. Retail stores like Costco only deal with producers to supply high-quality goods, but they do not manufacture or grow them.
Costco seldom reveals the brands of their spirits. Aside from confirming that their Kirkland Scotch is under the private bottler Alexander Murray, other distilled alcohol brands remain a mystery for years . It is a move that increases their customers’ speculation that luxury brands produced these alcoholic beverages and had them packaged differently with the Kirkland name.
What Is Kirkland Vodka?
Kirkland Signature Vodka is a distilled spirit with 40% ABV that has been poking the curiosity of every alcohol enthusiast out there. One of the reasons for all the attention is how Kirkland’s French Vodka frequently defeated Grey Goose in blind taste tests. Or the process that makes Kirkland American Vodka taste like the domestically made Tito’s Vodka.
This product is available in two different bottles only at Costco. The French brand is in a red-labeled bottle, with notes that it has a smooth and elegant finish. On the other hand, the American version comes in a minimalist bottle with a blue label.
How It’s Made
The process of making Kirkland’s Signature Vodka is as elusive as its brand. But based on our research, it follows the strict guidelines of the United States for this kind of spirit. It is unaged and distilled at 95% ABV using state-of-the-art distilleries, though there is a slight difference with each variety. But, what’s the general vodka proof?
The Kirkland Signature American brand went through six distillation processes at Mira Loma, California – where the Levecke Corp is. On the other hand, the Gayant Distillery made the French version of the Kirkland brand with distillation techniques sourced from the famous neighboring Cognac houses. The bottle label states that it went through five distillation processes similar to Grey Goose.
Kirkland Vodka’s Ingredients
Most distilled spirits choose premium ingredients to maintain the exclusivity of their brand, but it could be hard to create neutral drinks like vodka. The multiple distillation processes strip vodka of most of its taste, and there are only hints of flavors left. On blind taste tests, the minimal tasting notes of vodka will determine if it is a good one.
Kirkland Signature Vodka used the finest American heartland grains and purified spring water to create a product that has a thin texture and biting finish. It is good to drink straight or a mixer for cocktails.
Grey Goose: The Rumored Owner
The Grey Goose’s global head, Joe McCanta, denied the long-time rumor that they supply vodka to Costco in his past interview . Many people still believe in this story even after that interview, but no one can blame them.
Kirkland French Vodka and Grey Goose Vodka have two similarities out of three key factors of making vodka. First, both products have their water source from the same Gensac Springs located in France’s Cognac region. Second, they both went through the same six distillation processes.
Their only difference is that Grey Goose only uses wheat milled in their distillery using their exclusive technique.
Also Read: How Many Smirnoff Ice Will Get You Drunk?
Other Brands Rumored To Own Kirkland Vodka
As mentioned earlier, Costco has a passive response to the brands of their alcoholic spirits. For a long time, the Grey Goose brand is not the only focus of the rumors regarding the maker of Kirkland Brand Vodka. Among the famous vodka brands mentioned are Tito’s Handmade, Pinnacle, Buffalo Trace, and Ketel One.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka resembles the tasting notes of Kirkland Signature American Vodka. Meanwhile, Pinnacle Vodka comes from the same region as Grey Goose and Kirkland Signature French Vodka. Both Buffalo Trace and Ketel One produce vodka with a soft and smooth texture, almost like Costco’s Kirkland Vodka.
The LeVecke Corp: Who Are They?
LeVecke Corp. has the only label approval from TTB to produce and supply the Costco Vodka. The company has a humble beginning as a family business that started distributing beer in 1949. After many years of hard work and business partnerships, LeVecke Corp made distilled spirits and wine for retailers such as Supervalu, Safeway, Kroger, and Costco.
Among the products of LeVecke Corp is the PAU Maui Vodka, which is the world’s only pineapple vodka. They also teamed up with musician and businessman Jesse James Dupree to produce America’s Outlaw Bourbon Whiskey.
Is Costco’s Kirkland Signature Vodka of Good Quality?
Yes, the Kirkland Signature Costco Vodka is a good quality distilled alcohol. The Kirkland Signature American Vodka is smooth and has hints of sweetness in the palate that many consumers associate with the domestic brand of Tito’s Handmade. But because it has a biting finish that can be harsh for some people, we recommend this vodka as a cocktail mixer.
The Kirkland Signature French Vodka would often beat the pricier brand of Grey Goose in blind tastings. Described as a silky and bright liquor, it is available in the same size bottle of Grey Goose but with a much more affordable price of around $25.
What kind of vodka is Kirkland American vodka?
Kirkland Signature American Vodka is a plain vodka made of grains and purified spring water. The grain will be mixed with water in a heated chamber to convert it into sugar and leave it for four days of fermentation. It goes through six distillation processes before hitting the market.
Where does Kirkland get their vodka?
Kirkland gets their vodka from LeVecke Corp. It is the registered supplier of vodka for Costco.
Contrary to rumors, Kirkland Signature Vodka is not the same as Grey Goose or Crown Royal. The records of TTB showed that it is indeed from the LeVecke Corp, a distillery based in California. This company has also partnered with other retail stores like Supervalu, Safeway, and Kroger, and they even manufacture distilled spirits for restaurants owned by celebrities.
Costco’s Kirkland bottle tastes good despite being under the house brand of a retail store. It even tops a luxury brand like Grey Goose in different blind tastings, and it is available for around $17 to $25, almost half Grey Goose’s price.
Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds!