The Few States That Don't Allow Alcohol At Costco Stores

Traveling to the Poconos on vacation? En route to Baltimore for some of the state's famous crab? You may want to stock up at your local Costco before you hit the road. That's because Pennsylvania and Maryland have officially tied to win what we can only call the national booby prize in Costco's "bring your own" category. That's the prize we've invented for the only two states in the country that a) have Costco stores within their borders but b) whose stores sell no type of alcohol whatsoever (via Vinepair). No beer, no liquor, no wine. Nada.

In both cases, it's a result of legal restrictions; many states have "blue laws" that limit the sale of liquor on Sundays. But in Pennsylvania, the laws are even more restrictive; they limit where, when, and how many bottles of alcohol customers can purchase. Hard liquor can only be sold in state-run liquor stores, and beer and wine can only be sold in small quantities at supermarkets. Maryland's blue laws severely limit where alcoholic beverages may be sold: Beer and wine cannot be sold in supermarkets in general, and they definitely can't be sold at Costco. 

Residents of Maine, Wyoming, West Virginia, and Rhode Island are also unable to purchase any of Costco's famously affordable offerings, but for another reason: There are no Costcos in their state, period.

The rest of the country has options, though you can't buy everything everywhere. Utah and Kansas are pretty limited in their Costco offerings: Both have a beer-only situation going on.

Some states have all the luck

Costco stores in all other states are able and willing to sell both beer and wine: Texas, Oklahoma, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Vermont can all count themselves in what we'd call the "drinks with dinner" category.  

A majority of US states boast an "open bar" approach to Costco alcohol sales, allowing for beer, wine, and hard liquor. California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Arkansas, Ohio, Kentucky, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Alaska, and Hawaii all provide for sales of liquor as well as beer and wine — though you may not find booze at every Costco store in Colorado, Georgia, Connecticut, and New Jersey. 

The other key difference is membership. While the warehouse retailer generally requires that card-carrying members make the purchase, that's not a hard-and-fast rule, as alcohol is one of the key categories available to Costco non-members. In California, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Hawaii, you can waltz on in and buy drinks at Costco, provided you're of legal drinking age. In Mississippi, Arkansas, and New York, you need a membership for some types of alcohol. Everyplace else, you'll need a Costco ID to buy your drinks. Bottoms up — If you're in the right state, that is.