Is Costco’s Kirkland Vodka Actually Grey Goose?

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Trong Nguyen)

One of the most fun rumors to ever come out of Costco is that its generic Kirkland brand vodka is actually the same exact liquor that ends up in Grey Goose bottles. A 1.75-liter bottle of Kirkland vodka costs around $20, while a bottle of Grey Goose costs around $48, meaning if that rumor is true, Costco shoppers are getting a seriously good deal on high-quality vodka.

Of course, Costco has never actually confirmed that the company uses the same vodka as Grey Goose (and Grey Goose has flat-out denied it’s one of Costco’s suppliers) so the rumor has persisted as just that — a whisper passed between Costco enthusiasts that everyone really hopes is true. But recently, a spirits expert tried to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Speaking with Business Insider, Fred Minnik, who has written extensively about the spirits industry, said that consumers shouldn’t obsess over where Kirkland vodka comes from because there actually isn’t much difference between so-called high- and low-quality brands.

Minnick explains that high-quality vodka is “purely marketing.” The ingredients in vodka aren’t meant to “shine through,” because they’re distilled at a high proof, which strips out all the flavor. That’s why most people primarily drink vodka with a strong, flavorful mixer, like cranberry or orange juice. You shouldn’t pay too much attention to vodka brands that claim to use “premium” ingredients, because after distilling, all those ingredients end up tasting pretty much the same.

“This is not a spirit that was meant to be tasty,” Minnick told Business Insider. “It was meant to be bare — an intoxicant that you could sip without even knowing that you are sipping it.”

Minnik might not be able to answer for sure whether or not Kirkland vodka is the same as Grey Goose, but he does want people to know that it doesn’t actually matter, because they are going to taste nearly identical. That also means that you can keep paying discount Kirkland prices for your vodka. It might not be Grey Goose, but it definitely tastes the same.