Last Updated on August 29, 2022 by Lydia Martin
Costco is known for its massive selection of alcoholic beverages under its private-label liquor line Kirkland Signature.
Generally, the Kirkland whiskey selection is a good purchase because of its reasonable price and quality; however, the internet abounds with rumors about who makes Kirkland whiskey.
If you want to discover whether the rumors are true, read on.
Table of Contents
The Manufacturer Behind Kirkland Whiskey
We all know that Costco does not own a distillery, and it sources every bottle of Kirkland whiskey from different distilleries and independent bottlers.
Currently, Costco stores have ten whiskey expressions under the Kirkland signature brand: three bourbons, four Scotch whiskies, a Canadian, an Irish, and a Tennessee whiskey.
The four Kirkland Scotch expressions are bottled by Alexander Murray & Co, while the Kirkland Signature Canadian whisky is made in the similar distillery as Crown Royal.
Previously, the Kirkland Bourbons were produced by Jim Beam and George Dickel before ending up with Barton 1792.
Irish Distillers Ltd is behind the Kirkland Signature Irish whiskey production, and Tennessee Distilling Ltd makes the Kirkland Tennessee whiskey.
Kirkland Whiskeys & Who Makes Them
Kirkland Scotch Whisky
Blended Scotch Whisky
Costco keeps their lips tight regarding who makes their Kirkland Signature Blended Scotch. There are rumors that it came from Macallan Distillery, but based on Market Watch Mag and Punch, Alexander Murray Co. is behind the Blended Scotch.
Chances are high that it is true because every Kirkland Signature Blended Scotch bottle is labeled with Murray & Co. Also, based on Market Watch Mag, Murray has supplied spirit for Costco since 2007.
12 YO Blended Scotch Whisky
The 12 YO Kirkland Scotch Whisky is another independent bottling by Murray & Co. The distillery of the whisky remains a mystery because they do not disclose the source of their spirit except the broad geographic designation of where it came from.
The Kirkland Signature label may remind you of Dewar’s; however, according to Cameron Johnston (Brand Manager of Murray & Co), the Master Distillers crafted the spirit based on the flavor profile of Dewar’s but they are not from a similar distillery.
20 YO Speyside Sherry Cask Finish (Single Malt)
The 20 YO Speyside Sherry Cask Finish was bottled by Murray & Co.The brand released the 20 YO Speyside spirit in 2019.
Costco does not usually disclose the producers of Kirkland whiskeys but based on the label of 20 YO Speyside, Murray & Co is the independent bottler in charge of the whiskies.
22 YO Speyside Sherry Cask Finish
Like the three Kirkland brands of whiskies mentioned above, 22 YO Speyside Sherry Cask Finish is bottled by Murray & Co.
Based on Johnston, the 20 and 22 YO Single Malt expressions were drawn from different distillers because there are no single distilleries with enough inventory to meet the needs of Costco.
The Kirkland version of Single Barrel bourbon is distilled and produced by Barton 1792 Master Distillers. By 2021, Costco and Barton 1792 are in clear partnership to create Kirkland Brand whiskey at an affordable price but of good quality.
Unlike older bottles of Kirkland bourbon from Jim Beam and George Dickel, Costco recently disclosed 1792 Barton as the producer of their bourbon.
Kirkland Small Batch bourbon came from the same distillery- Barton 1792. As seen on the label, the Kirkland Signature Small Batch bourbon is made by Barton 1792 Distillery Master Distillers.
Barton 1792 Distillery is located in Bardstown, Kentucky, and was established in 1879. The distillery is owned by Sazerac Company, just like the Old Montreal Distillery.
Kirkland Signature Bottled-In-Bond was made by Barton 1792, and unlike other bourbon offerings, the Bottled-In-Bond bourbon underwent strict production regulation by the Federal Government.
The Kirkland Signature BiB should be distilled by Barton 1792 alone, within one distilling season, and aged in a government bonded warehouse for at least four years .
Kirkland Irish Whiskey
Kirkland Signature Irish whiskey is distilled thrice, and since Costco has high demand and inventory, only one company can supply: Irish Distillers Ltd (IDL).
IDL is the largest whiskey distillery in Ireland, and it is also the producer of Jameson Irish Whiskey, the best-selling Irish whiskey in the world.
Some people think Kilbeggan and Bushmill produce the Kirkland Signature Irish Whiskey; however, Kilbeggan is double distilled, and Bushmill makes malt whiskey only.
Kirkland Canadian Whisky
Kirkland Signature Canadian whisky has a similar taste to Crown Royal, and there are rumors that they share the same distillery. Crown Royal is produced at the Gimli distillery in Manitoba, the possible distillery of Costco’s Canadian whisky.
The Kirkland Signature Blended Canadian whisky can be made from component whiskies used to make different Crown Royal expressions.
It is evident and possible because, based on our blind taste test, Kirkland’s Canadian whisky has a similar taste profile and aroma to Crown Royal but is a bit spicier.
Kirkland Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey
Tennessee Distilling Ltd makes Kirkland Signature Tennessee whiskey, and Master Distiller Mike Williams is in charge of the production line and quality of the spirit.
The signature of Mike Williams- co-owner of the distilling company, is imprinted on the Kirkland Tennessee Sour Mash whiskey label.
The whiskey must undergo charcoal chips filtration made from maple wood before aging. The Lincoln County Process  is one of the requirements for a Tennessee whiskey to be labeled as one.
What does Kirkland Irish whiskey taste like?
Kirkland Irish whiskey has rich notes of cooked fruit like apple, candied orange zest, banana, cinnamon, and a hint of pepper.
Moreso, you can taste the creamy, buttery caramel and cedar wood elements of the spirit. You can score Kirkland Irish whiskey in Costco stores and Total Wine.
Is there a Kirkland Canadian whisky shortage?
Presently, no, there is no Kirkland Canadian whisky shortage. It is available in Costco warehouses and Instacart.
However, almost seven years ago, there was a shortage in the expression that people thought they were discontinued.
Costco does not produce their own whiskey because they do not own a distillery, so each bottle is sourced from different distilleries.
Rumors are circulating that many big names like Johnnie Walker and Crown Royal share a similar distillery with Kirkland whiskeys, and that can be true.
The Scotch whiskies are bottled by Alexander Murray & Co, while Gimli Distillery makes the Kirkland Canadian spirit.
The three bourbon expressions are produced by Barton 1792 Distillery, while the Tennessee whiskey and Irish whiskey are made by Tennessee Distilling Company and Irish Distiller Ltd, respectively.
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! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.