Who Actually Makes Kirkland Tequila?

Costco sells just about everything, and its Kirkland brand is incredibly popular with shoppers looking for quality at a knockoff brand price. Going cheap with liquor, though, doesn't always pay off. While we named Kirkland's Scotch Whisky as one of the best liquors to buy at Costco, the same couldn't be said for their tequila.

Tequila is one of those liquors where when it's good, it's really good and when it's bad it's really, really bad. So what's up with Kirkland's tequila? Who makes this stuff and does it have any hope of improving?

Kirkland tequila comes from the Mexican state of Jalisco

Regarding Kirkland's tequila, somebody has to take the blame for this boozy crime, because Costco definitely isn't making it. (They don't make Kirkland beer either, in case you were wondering.) If you want to find out where a particular tequila is made, all you have to do is look at the NOM. This is an identifying number on the bottle that can be used to track where the tequila came from. 

According to the website Tequila Taste Matchmaker, all three of Kirkland's tequilas (Anejo, Silver, and Reposado) currently trace back to La Madrileña in Tototlan, a city in the Mexican central-western state of Jalisco. La Madrileña is also the distillery that makes Tabasco's brand of tequila — in case you were curious about what kind of clout they have.  

Kirkland tequila might be getting worse

Not to hate on La Madrileña too much — there are probably lots of nice, committed people who work there — but they're not the cream of the crop. According to Taste Tequila's quality ranking of the 136 active tequila distilleries operating in Mexico, La Madrileña came in at 99.

Costco hasn't always sourced their tequila from La Madrileña though. As recently as January 2019, they were getting their tequila from Fabrica de Tequilas Finos. That distillery also made Ed Hardy tequila, if need any idea what sort of brands they were working with (via Thrillist).

The bulk retail giant has actually jumped around a bit with their tequila distilleries. Before NOM 1142 and 1472, they were using NOMs 1438 and 1173. Now get ready for the real kicker, because it's a doozy. It appears that Kirkland tequila has actually been on a downward quality decline for some time now. While their current distillery is ranked at 99 out of 136, NOM 1173 was ranked at 51, NOM 1438 was ranked at 65, and NOM 1472 was ranked at 92. Yikes. 

Kirkland tequila? No gracias.