Who Actually Makes Kirkland Vodka?

While rumors have persisted for years that Kirkland Signature Vodka, aka Costco's house brand, is really the same as Grey Goose, this rumor is not just an oversimplification, but it's evidently just not true. To address the first issue regarding the Grey Goose rumor, there are actually two types of Kirkland vodka: a cheaper American version and a pricier French version. It is only the French vodka that is really comparable to Grey Goose, and what's more, Grey Goose categorically denies the rumors, as does the Bacardi brand that owns Grey Goose, according to Thrillist.

The final word on this question of vodka origin comes from the U.S. government's own Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). They have issued one and only one Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) for Kirkland-branded vodka of any type, and that certificate states that all Kirkland vodkas from 2005 on (the database only permits a 15-year search parameter) have been produced by the Levecke Corporation in Mira Loma, California.

Where does Kirkland vodka come from?

Kirkland's French vodka, according to Vice's Munchies column, is made from water that comes from the same Gensac Springs in France's cognac region where Grey Goose gets their own water — although the pricier brand does, of course, claim to use an "exclusive" well, as well as using wheat milled via a proprietary method. Munchies also makes mention of the fact that Grey Goose and Kirkland are distilled some 800 kilometers apart, which translates to just under 500 miles.

In the case of Kirkland's French vodka, Levecke may only serve as the bottler and distributor, as the spirit itself is evidently distilled in Europe. While no one has done such a thorough investigation of Kirkland's American vodka, it may well be produced as well as bottled in Mira Loma.

Does it ultimately matter who makes the stuff, though? Kirkland's French vodka regularly beats out Grey Goose in blind taste tests. Even if you opt for the lower-priced American Kirkland vodka, it's still considered one of the best Costco-branded liquors for sale. In fact, spirits expert Fred Minnick told Business Insider that, in his opinion, "Vodka is purely marketing — there is nothing special about it [since] it is meant to be thrown in with something else and take on the character of whatever it is mixed with."