Everything to Know About Costco Kirkland Signature French Vodka

updated Oct 11, 2023
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Entry to Liquor Sales department at Costco
Credit: Patty Catalano

I swore off bargain booze back in college, once I realized that a few dollars saved was never worth the headache the next day. But then, Costco entered the chat. The warehouse known for bulk packages of paper towels and affordable food court options, has become the place to build your bar.

Costco’s private-label brand, Kirkland Signature isn’t limited to groceries; it also includes options for practically every major liquor category. TBH, Costco’s bottles of booze are among the best we’ve tasted. The one bottle that empties more quickly than all the rest is the Kirkland Signature French Vodka. Here’s why.

Credit: Patty Catalano

What So Great About Costco’s Kirkland Signature French Vodka?

Costco sells two types of vodka under its private Kirkland Signature brand: French vodka and American vodka. The one that has developed a frenetic following is the vodka imported from France.

  • Price: Costco sells its French vodka at an fraction of the price you would pay at a local liquor store — up to half the price.
  • Quality: A product of France made from grain. Distilled five times.
  • Flavor: The French vodka is crisp, clean, silky.
  • Name-brand comparisons: The French vodka is often compared to Grey Goose (more on that in a minute), while the American version is akin to Tito’s.

If I have to point out one negative for the Kirkland Signature French Vodka, it’s the height of the bottle — a towering 18 inches. Displaying this bottle is no trouble on a bar cart, but may be an issue if you store liquor in a cabinet.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Does Grey Goose Make Kirkland Signature Vodka?

For years, Costco fanatics have spread the rumor that the Kirkland Signature French vodka is actually Grey Goose vodka incognito. If that were the case, it would be the deal of the century, as a bottle of the name brand goes for over $45, while Costco’s is less than half the price at just $20 for the same size bottle. This rumor was finally put to rest when Grey Goose clarified that it does not manufacture vodka under the Kirkland Signature brand.

Who Really Makes Costco’s Kirkland Signature French Vodka?

With one major player in the vodka business eliminated, the search continued for the source of the spirit. Costco will not reveal all of its secrets, but one way to discover what it doesn’t want you to know is to look at government records.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau lists a Certificate of Label Approval/Exemption (COLA) for Kirkland Signature Vodka registered to the LeVecke Corporation. The US has stringent regulations on the labeling, marketing, importation, and distribution of alcoholic beverages, including how those products — like Kirkland Signature French vodka — are labeled and marketed. COLAs allow the company holding the certificate to import alcoholic beverages that are labeled exactly as shown on the certificate. This is as close as we’re going to get to a confirmation on the business behind Costco’s French vodka without hearing it straight from the warehouse.

So to sum up: Kirkland Signature French vodka is bottled by Gayant Distillery in Douai, France, but California-based distilled spirits wholesale distributor LeVecke Corporation is the company that gets the bottles from France to Costco’s front door.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

How Does Costco’s Kirkland Signature French Vodka Taste?

Back in 2018, The Kitchn held a taste test pitting the Kirkland Signature French vodka against several name brand bottles. Taste testers, including pro spirits slingers, agreed that Costco’s budget spirit was well worth the hype. Some even noted that they preferred Costco’s vodka over the premium brands.

The taste was described as smooth and bright with a “fresh linen” aroma. While other vodkas in the taste test were watery, the consistency of Costco’s Kirkland Signature French vodka was comparable to white wine.

Credit: Patty Catalano

Can You Buy Kirkland Signature French Vodka at Every Costco?

Not every Costco warehouse sells hard liquor. Laws regarding the sale of liquor vary state-to-state. Non-members can purchase alcohol in some areas, while others may prohibit the sale of hard liquor at the warehouse altogether or up to a certain alcohol percentage. Some states require the liquor to be sold from a separate section of the store (complete with its own entrance!) and may even limit the number of warehouses in the state that sell liquor. It isn’t all bad news — in some places you can log onto Instacart to order alcohol from Costco for delivery.

Did Costco Recall Its Kirkland Signature French Vodka?

In short: No. Recently, Costco recalled a batch of its American vodka sold between July 12 and August 20, 2023 after numerous customer complaints. It found that this batch had an off flavor (not a food safety issue) after the liquor was transported in vessels previously used to store rum. The Kirkland Signature French vodka was not involved in this recall.

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Find it in stores: Kirkland Signature French Vodka, $19.99 for 1.75 liters at Costco

A version of this story was first published on June 25, 2018 by Danielle Centoni.