The truth about Costco’s Kirkland vodka vs. Grey Goose vodka

Costco is one of the best places to shop for own-brand products that are just as good, if not better, than their more expensive name-brand counterparts. The retail giant’s Kirkland label frequently blows the higher-end competition out of the water in comparison tests. In fact, Consumer Reports notes their laundry detergent works out at just 9 cents per load and is unbeatable on stains, while the Kirkland vanilla ice cream was rated in line with Ben & Jerry’s but works out at just 30 cents per serving, compared to $1 for the “real” stuff.

When it comes to alcohol, Kirkland-brand vodka is considered just as good as Grey Goose, which is even higher praise than their ice cream competing with the mighty B&J. If you ask certain people, it’s actually the same stuff, just packaged differently and sold for a fraction of the price. Could it be possible that vodka the quality of Grey Goose has been sitting in your local Costco this entire time, hidden behind a Kirkland label?

Kirkland and Grey Goose may use the same water source

As Business Insider notes, Kirkland vodka frequently beats Grey Goose in blind taste tests in spite of retailing for much less money (1.75 liters of Kirkland costs $19.99, while a similar-sized bottle of Grey Goose goes for around $60). Grey Goose, which is owned by Bacardi, has, naturally, denied that it also produces the Kirkland variety. A spokesperson for the company argued that their “water source was carefully chosen for its purity and extraordinary quality, and no other vodka brands in the region have access,” so it would seem impossible that Kirkland vodka could possibly be the same stuff. However, as Vice notes, both brands source their water from the Gensac Springs in France’s Cognac region. 

To further distinguish their vodka, Grey Goose clarified that they also utilize the highest-certified wheat from three farming co-ops, which is milled using a proprietary method before distillation takes place around 800 kilometers from where Kirkland is distilled.

Kirkland vodka is the better deal regardless

It’s worth noting that spirits-tasting expert Fred Minnick told Business Insider that vodka is “purely marketing,” so it doesn’t really matter either way. He also advised not shelling out too much money for the odorless liquor. “When you buy vodka, you are basically paying for someone’s fat salary and the marketing associated with it,” he argued, which chimes with how Kirkland-brand vodka consistently gets rave reviews and beats out the likes of Grey Goose in blind taste tests.

“This is not a spirit that was meant to be tasty,” Minnick advised, “It was meant to be bare — an intoxicant that you could sip without even knowing that you are sipping it.” Maybe we’ll never know the truth but suffice to say, if you’re a vodka drinker on a budget, you could do much worse than Kirkland.

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