Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Buy your booze at Costco and save!

If you live in one of the 18 states where the sale of distilled spirits (aka hard liquor) is controlled by the state then you are stuck purchasing your liquor from state sanctioned ABC stores and which means you're stuck paying their outrageous prices. But if you live in any other state, then you have the privilege of being able to purchase your favorite booze from retailers like grocery stores, convenience stores and big box stores like Costco. Because both the state of Maryland and the state of Virginia are unfortunately so called 'control states,' Costcos in MD & VA cannot sell hard liquor. Virginia Costcos can sell beer and wine but Maryland Costcos can't sell any alcohol. For years Marylanders & Virginians in the DC Metro Area have suffered, but the opening of the first Washington DC Costco in Nov 2012, changed everything.

Because the District doesn’t control the sale of liquor the same way MD & VA do, they allow retailers, like Costco, to sell hard liquor, which means you can purchase not only Costco size bottles of your favorite booze, but you can enjoy Costco size prices too!

Check out these price comparisons of some name brand spirits: on the left side of each photo is the retail price in a Northern VA ABC store and on the right side is the Costco price in the Washington DC warehouse for the exact same size bottle.

Bombay Sapphire Gin: a 1.75L bottle retails for $53.95 but Costco sells the same bottle for only $29.39. The Costco price is an astounding 45% cheaper than the retail price! You save $24.56!!

Belvedere Vodka: a 1.75L bottle retails for $59.95 but Costco sells the same bottle for only $42.89. The Costco price is 28% less expensive than the retail price, which saves you over $17!

Malibu Caribbean Rum: a 1.75L bottle retails for $29.95 but Costco sells the same bottle for only $18.89; that’s a 36% savings off the retail price! Even the ABC store sale price of $26.95 can’t compete with the Costco sale price of $15.69, which is an even greater savings at 41% less than the retail price!

Knob Creek Kentucky Bourbon: a 1.75L bottle retails for $69.90 while Costco sells the same bottle for $49.99. The Costco price is 28% less than the retail price!

Kahlua Coffee Liqueur: a 1.75L bottle retails for $47.95 while Costco sells the same bottle for $35.89. The Costco price is 25% less than the retail price!

Bailey’s Irish Cream: a 1.75L bottle retails for $50.95 while Costco sells the same bottle for $39.99. The Costco price is 21% less than the retail price!

Tanqueray Gin: a 1.75L bottle retails for $49.95 while Costco sells the same bottle for $28.99. The Costco price is 41% less than the retail price!

Grey Goose Vodka: a 1.75L bottle retails for $69.90 while Costco sells the same bottle for $45.89. The Costco price is 34% less than the retail price!

Beefeater Gin: a 1.75L bottle retails for $41.90 while Costco sells the same bottle for $25.99. The Costco price is 37% less than the retail price!

Johnny Walker Red Whisky: a 1.75L bottle retails for $49.90 while Costco sells the same bottle for only $28.89. The Costco price is 42% less than the retail price!

Patron Silver Tequila: a 1.75L bottle retails for $103.90 while Costco sells the same bottle for $79.99. The Costco price is 23% less than the retail price!

Dewar’s Special Reserve 12 Year old Scotch: a 1.75L bottle retails for $79.95 while Costco sells the same bottle for $49.89. The Costco price is 37% less than the retail price!

Ciroc Vodka: a 1.75L bottle retails for $71.95 while Costco sells the same bottle for $45.89. The Costco price is 36% off the retail price!

From this sample you can clearly see how Costco can save you anywhere from 21% to 45% off the retail price of your favorite distilled spirits. And if you’re stocking up for a big event there’s virtually no risk because Costco allows you to return any unused, unopened bottles as long as you have your receipt and all original packaging, (the same goes for unopened cases of beer too), whereas most ABC stores will charge you a restocking fee to return merchandise and some put a cap on how much you can return if they allow returns at all.

Of course, that’s not all, Costco also has its own line of fabulous Kirkland Signature distilled spirits you can enjoy at a fraction of the cost of their brand name competitors. Check out this selection of KS brand hard liquor also from the DC warehouse.

Kirkland Signature 18 year old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky (item #823871):

Kirkland Signature Reposado Tequila (item #774371):

Kirkland Signature Silver Tequila (item #888117):

Kirkland Signature Vodka (item #999910):

Kirkland Signature Canadian Whisky (item #888870):

Kirkland Signature Small Batch Kentucky Bourbon (item #888863):


And finally, for you enthusiasts & collectors, check out the Kirkland Signature Glenlivet Distillery 40 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky (item #746526). You can read more about this limited quantity item in the December 2013 Costco Connection magazine.

Costco also carries a wide variety of top rated wines (including Champagne) and beers, including their own Kirkland Signature wines & beers, so the next time you need booze for a barbecue, a party, a wedding or even just for the weekend hop in your car and make a trip to Costco. And if you live in the DC metro area make a trip to the DC warehouse.



***DISCLAIMER 20 Aug 2015***
It has been brought to my attention that the state of Virginia has a law decreeing "No more than one gallon of alcoholic beverages (or the metric equivalent) may be brought into Virginia from outside the Commonwealth, excepting shipments to the commission or its licensees." This, for the purposes of this blog post, essentially means that it is illegal to purchase more than five (5) 750 ml bottles of liquor in DC (or any other state) and bring them back into Virginia- even if they are for your own personal consumption.
I have also heard that Virginia employees ABC agents monitor liquor stores in the District specifically looking for people with Virginia license plates who purchase large quantities of alcohol (like several cases) and bring them back into Virginia. Apparently, once these consumers cross back into Virginia the ABC agents can stop the driver, seize the alcohol, impound the vehicle and fine the driver.
With that being said, Costco is a lot more than just a liquor store so if I (as VA resident) go to the DC Costco warehouse and purchase several bottles of liquor in a single trip along with my other groceries and household items (which I have done many times) I feel like I am probably fine. However, now that this state law has been brought to my attention I will certainly think twice about going to the DC Costco Warehouse and purchasing an entire cart full of nothing but alcohol for my next party.
I am not a lawyer and thus not an expert on the law and I cannot provide legal advice, but I certainly do not want to encourage anyone to break the law. Please use the links below AND do your own research to ensure you understand your states alcoholic beverage laws and use your own judgement before purchasing alcohol outside of your state of residence:






(It should also be noted that beer and wine are covered under separate VA state laws that allow you to legally purchase two cases of wine or two cases of beer (or one case of each) outside of the Commonwealth, but since Virginia Costcos already sell beer and wine, if you are a Virginia resident you should be able to purchase what you need without traveling out of state.)

Marylanders- I'm sorry but I know nothing of your alcohol laws except that I have heard they are even more ridiculous than the Virginia alcohol laws and according to Tom Bridge from welovedc.com the state of Maryland basically just wants you to stay completely sober.
End of Disclaimer.


Thanks so much for reading my blog! 


Until next time,
the Costco Connoisseur


#GoingToAllTheCostcos




P.S.

Follow me on Twitter! @CostcoConoiseur
Follow me on Instagram! @theCostcoConnoisseur

54 comments:

  1. Great roundup! I heard that Costco is coming out with a Kirkland Signature branded gin. Have you heard anything about that? I haven't seen it at my local warehouse.

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    1. Our company has more than 500 employees and a group of skilled engineers. With rich experience, we have got a good reputation all over the world. 1000ml glass bottles

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  2. Thanks for your feedback :)
    I just spotted the KS London Dry Gin at the Signal Hill, CA Costco today!
    Hope you find it in your warehouse.
    Follow me on Twitter (@costcoconoiseur) & Instagram (thecostcoconnoisseur) for pics and tips between posts.

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  3. We will be hosting a large reception following our son's ordination to the priesthood in DC and will be purchasing the wine, beer, and champagne. We were hoping to buy at Costco. Since we are from out of town, we will not be able to bring leftovers home. Can we return unopened bottles to Costco?

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    1. Hi! Thank you for your comment and congratulations on your son's ordination to the priesthood! Yes unopened bottles and cases can be returned to Costco, just hang on to your receipt and all the original packaging :)

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  4. I just want to thank you for taking the time to make this post. It's highly helpful to people like me who live outside the area but visit DC occasionally. I'll be comparing the prices with the Virginia ABC stores and making a list for the next I'm in DC!

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    1. Thanks for your comment!
      I'm glad you found it helpful.

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  5. Hello, In the past you could get in trouble for living in Virginia, travelling to DC to buy alcohol and bringing it back to VA. Is that still the case or is it now allowable?

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    1. Hi! Thanks for your comment. I have done some research and yes it looks like there is still a law on the books in VA that makes it illegal to purchase alcohol in another state and bring it into VA, however it's not clear that the law is actively being enforced. I am not a lawyer but I have purchased both small quantities for personal use as well as larger quantities for parties & weddings from the DC warehouse and brought it to VA with no issues. However, I'm adding a disclaimer to the post above about this law as I don't want to encourage people to unknowingly break the law. Thanks for pointing this out!

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  6. Great prices. If more convenient, Calvert-Woodley on Connecticut Ave. has liquor prices that match Costco's.

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  7. I live in Toledo, Ohio. Where is the nearest Costco where I can purchase spirits?

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    1. Hi! Thanks for your comment. I am not familiar with the liquor laws in Ohio, but if you're not able to purchase alcohol from Costco's in Ohio the next closest warehouse to Toledo looks like it's North of you in Pittsfield Township Michigan. However, again I am not familiar with the Michigan liquor laws either. You can call the warehouse and ask if they sell liquor though. Good luck!

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  8. There is a Costco in Cabo San Lucas Mexico. Know anything about it's quality?

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    1. Hi! Thanks for reading my blog. I have not been to the Cabo San Lucas warehouse but I have been to a newer warehouse in Tijuana and I have friends who regularly go to the warehouse in Puerto Vallarta which they love. I found the warehouse in Tijuana to be clean and the staff friendly. You should be able to find most of your favorite Kirkland Signature brands along with many familiar US brands but the majority of merchandise will be brands you'd find throughout Mexico. I remember there were a lot of full size major appliances, TONS of delicious bakery items, beer and a great selection of Tequila, and a nice selection of plants. Oh and the food court had an awesome Mango Smoothie. I hope this helps :)
      Stay tuned for an upcoming post covering highlights of my trip to the Tijuana warehouse!

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  9. Please post which states allow Costco to sell liquor. Thanks

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    1. Hi! Thanks for your comment. Costco doesn't post which states sell liquor and which don't, but I think it's safe to assume that if your local grocery store sells liquor then your local Costco should too, but if your state only allows liquor sales in ABC stores then your local Costco probably won't sell liquor. To be sure you could call a specific warehouse and ask. I hope this helps!

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  10. Is the local Costco wine guy a Costco employee or a distributor employee placed at the store? What wine/liquor education is required and how can I apply? This would be a great position for me as I just sold my business and am to young to retire.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, I believe the "wine guy" in the warehouses are Costco employees - not distributors. To inquire about working for Costco you will need to talk to someone in the warehouses. Good luck!

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  11. I recently bought one liter bottle of Kahlua for the first time at Costco. In addition to the shelf price of $15.49, I was charged $3.77 for "Liquor Liter". Any idea what that charge is all about? The Washington State Liquor Tax of 20.5% was only applied to the $15.49 cost of the liquor.

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    1. Nevermind.... I found it.

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  12. Love the Concept, We are Avid Customer of Costco(20 diff memberships in a family), Do like to buy good Alcohol 1.75 L Size. It becomes cheaper and lasts longer(I doubt), Any way most of Costco Customers are used to Bulk Buying and storing, so why not ETOH in Grande size, I personally do not like Packing 750ml in two and selling, will prefer 1.75 L, I would not like Kahlua in 1.75L it is good as 750ml(few exceptions).

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  13. Continuing from my 19:25 note, Well written article, Where to Find How to drink different ETOH. Bought Kirkland Spice RUM, WOw smells good, I am sure there is a smoother way to palate it, so goes with all the Tequila's, I would love to try all the Drinks but want to know how well it can be enjoyed with mixing what. Drink occasionally(that is why I have problem),Love Kirkland Liquor choice. You team has put in lot of effort to make it happen, well selected, good price(goes up is quality, goes down is the price- love it). I just pick the Kirkland Label and think later. THX GS NJ

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    1. Thanks for your comment! Glad you and your entire family love Costco :)
      Kirkland Signature liquors are excellent and come with a fabulous price.

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  14. Great info. thank you

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  15. Thanks for your advice!

    One question on returns: do you have to return booze to the specific Costco you bought from? We're doing a wedding in VA but gonna take our chances in DC, however after the wedding, we'll be heading south. Do you think a different Costco would accept unopened bottles and refund us?

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    1. Hi thanks for your question. While I know Costco warehouses will accept returns of their merchandise at any of their warehouses, I am not positive how their return policy extends to liquor sales in different states. I BELIEVE returns on alcoholic purchases would be subject to state laws so that a warehouse that does not sell liquor, like a Virginia warehouse, would not be able to accept returns on liquor because Virginia Costcos are not authorized to sell liquor. You should be able to return wine and beer that you purchased in DC to a VA warehouse with no trouble though - just be sure they return you the correct sales tax which is listed on your receipt. I'm not positive on this matter so you may want to call or drop by a few VA warehouses and ask them directly if they can accept returns of liquor.
      How far south are you headed? The South Carolina Costco's sell liquor, you should be able to return liquor to those warehouses but again be sure they return you the sales tax that you paid not their local sales tax. Good luck!

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  16. Are the prices still valid and do all DC Costcos have same price?

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    1. Most of these prices should be the same or very similar but the exact prices can vary and there is currently only one DC Costco warehouse. Thanks for reading!

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  17. In Montgomery County, Maryland we have a public liquor-store system and the prices are comparable (or lower) than Costco. But we don't have the Kirkland vodka that my Dad loves. So we make the occasional special trip.

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  18. Great article on fine wine, liquor, and beer for sale at certain Costcos. I've noticed that Costco has recently "deemphasized" the sale of alcoholic beverages in their stores. For example, in the Costco Connection magazine, they no longer list what's sold in area stores, including W, L, and B. And searching their site, it's impossible to locate the closest warehouse that sells alcoholice beverages. Maybe they're afraid of the local ABC Boards seeing them sell so much stuff. Either way it makes it difficult if you're traveling and trying to plan ahead.

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    1. Hi! thanks of your comment. You're right it is rather difficult to determine which warehouse sell alcoholic beverages. I remember the old layout of the Costco connection magazines included a table of all the warehouses in the region and it indicated which sold wine, liquor and or beer but as you know they haven't published those tables in sometime now. I did a quick search on costco.com and W, L & B are not cleared marked for every warehouse. If you search for the Washington DC warehouse and click on store details under "speciality departments" it clearly lists "fine wines and liquor" but when i searched for other warehouses in AZ, CA, CO and SC that I KNOW from experience sell wine, liquor and beer- no such entry was listed under their warehouse details. I have a suspicion that the reason they don't list alcoholic beverage sales on their website has to do something with the varying state laws.
      You could try asking your question on Costco's Facebook page, I have found they are really good about responding.

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  19. Nice article. I will tell you, the Kirkland Vodka with the red-bottom (the one you have pictured on this post) is rumored to be Grey Goose. I buy the Kirkland Silver Tequila for Jalapeno Margaritas (a little spice, not too sweet), the Kirkland London Dry Gin is pretty solid too. I wish they would put on each store's details on the costco.com if they have a liquor department (as opposed to a liquor store on the side which is NOT a costco operation.

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    1. Hi thanks for your comment. I too have heard that the KS vodka is bottled by and is Grey Goose. We love the selection of KS liquors. I just looked through the find a warehouse on costco.com and you're right it's not clear which warehouses sell liquor! If you search for the Washington DC warehouse under specialty departments it lists "fine wines and liquor" but when I searched for other warehouses that I KNOW from experience sell liquor "liquor" was not listed. It must have something to do with the laws governing alcoholic beverage sales which vary from state to state.
      thanks for reading my blog!

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  20. Great article! Apologies if this was answered and I overlooked it. Is it still possible to purchase alcohol at the DC Costco without a membership? I've been getting conflicting reports lately...

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    1. hi thanks for your comment! Liquor laws vary by state and are subject to change so there isn't always a straight forward answer but I have found a good general rule is if the liquor is located inside the warehouse along with all the other merchandise then yes you have to have a Costco membership in order to purchase liquor. But if the liquor sales are separated from the rest of the warehouse in a separate area with its own checkout then no you do not have to have a Costco membership to purchase liquor. DC has the liquor inside the warehouse so you do have to have a Costco Membership to purchase liquor. thanks for reading my blog :)

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  21. What happened to the Kirklands Canadian Whiskey? Costco no longer carries it but I cannot find out why? I love that stuff, it tastes just like crown but half the price....Costco was selling the daylights out of it. Not sure why they would let such a good product go. If you know why or what happened or if Costco will ever get that product back, I would love to hear back. Thanks

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    1. I'm asking the same thing! We are out in Burlington WA, but I found some in Clarkson, WA. The Burlington store said that their were quality issues and that it would be back...I'm still waiting!!

      Coho

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  22. i was thinking of purchasing wine as gifts. i have had a chance to sample some of kirkland wines which have been very nice. Any kirkland wine recommendations?

    Kate

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    1. Hi Kate!
      A review of Kirkland Signature wines (as well as Costcos vast wine selection in general) is on my "To Blog" List but I am by no means a wine connoisseur ;)
      My favorite KS wines are the KS Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and KS Champagne for whites; as for reds I'm not a huge red drinker but I do love a good Bordeaux so I'd probably say Kirkland Signature Bordeaux Superieur is my fave but I don't know if they still carry it. Try googling Kirkland Signature Wine Ratings - there are tons of blogs dedicated just to wine reviews that might be more helpful :)
      Thanks for reading my blog!

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  23. I was in a Costco earlier today and was shocked on Buffalo Trace price and Patron. I was lucky to catch a break on a 750ml of Jim Beam Black for 18.90 out the door at a discount on a military base but Costco prices is really decent on liquor here in Colorado Springs.

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  24. For comparison - Total Wine prices, often similar or less than Costco.
    At T/W they also have (often) 1L, 0.75, 0.375 in case you don't want huge bottles.

    Bombay Sapphire Gin 24.99
    Belvedere Vodka 45.99
    Malibu Caribbean Rum 17.49
    Knob Creek Kentucky Bourbon 54.99
    Kahlua Coffee Liqueur 28.99
    Bailey’s Irish Cream 37.99
    Grey Goose Vodka 43.99
    Beefeater Gin 17.99
    Johnny Walker Red Whisky 28.99
    Patron Silver Tequila 79.99

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  25. thanks for this information. this information is very good and very nice blog information.
    this information related by dc liquor store.

    best liquor store in dc

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  26. This blog was really helpful and informational!!'d like to thank you for your efforts you've got made in composing this post. Thanks so much!

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  27. looking for Salvador's Top Shelf Margueritas

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  28. I searched and could not find an answer specific to California. We recently WAY overbought alcohol for a party. Remaining bottles are sealed and in original packaging. Can they be returned?

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    1. I know Costco has accepted returns on alcohol in DC and Virginia, BUT the laws on alcohol sales and returns vary from state to state. I do not know the California laws. Try calling the Costco where you purchased the alcohol from and ask if you can return the unused/unopened bottles still in their original packaging before you load up the car :)
      Good luck!

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  29. I live in Prescott Valley, AZ. The local Costco used to carry Bombay Sapphire, but lately it's been missing. Why did it disappear and is it coming back?

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  30. Do you know the recent prices for the above spirits you mentioned as of 2017?

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  31. 40 yr old scotch?? Oh I bet thats good!

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  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

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