Is Costco's Kirkland Signature Vodka Actually Grey Goose?

If you've ever been surprised by the quality of an affordable bottle of wine or spirits from Costco, you might have wondered just who makes your favorite Costco alcohol. Costco's house-brand Kirkland Signature products often surprise shoppers with their quality and affordability. You might assume that alcohol would be one product where this doesn't apply, but Kirkland Signature alcohols are such high quality that many shoppers have wondered if there isn't a top-shelf brand in those Kirkland bottles.

One of the most common rumors about Kirkland Signature alcohol is that its vodka is actually just relabeled Grey Goose. It's a pretty high compliment to be compared to one of the ultimate vodka brands. But sadly, we're here to dispel the rumors, which are so pervasive that Grey Goose itself has actually released a statement. It insists that it does not distill the vodka that goes into Kirkland Signature vodka bottles. 

Kirkland Signature has also made it clear that Grey Goose does not produce its vodka. While there are a lot of similarities between what you'll find at Costco and the name-brand French vodka, the two aren't the same. 

The similarities between Grey Goose and Kirkland Signature vodka

It's likely that some of these comparisons aren't entirely accidental. As Thrillist points out, Grey Goose vodka has a distinctive tall and slim bottle design. The Kirkland bottle bears a strong similarity to this shape.

The Kirkland Signature vodka is also advertised as being distilled in France. (The Costco house brand has another vodka that's advertised as distilled in America, but that one doesn't warrant the same comparisons.) France doesn't have a longstanding reputation as a vodka distiller, either. Grey Goose is easily the country's most famous, so a top-quality French vodka from Kirkland has drawn further comparison between the two brands.

Grey Goose does support the claim that it gets its water from the same area near Cognac, France as Kirkland's distiller does. But Munchies points out that Grey Goose uses a private well for its water. Grey Goose also says that it sources only the finest-quality wheat for its vodka and only distills its vodka a single time to preserve the wheat's flavor. Kirkland Signature doesn't make it clear where it sources its wheat but does advertise that its vodka has been distilled five times for additional purity.

Do they taste the same?

The bottle designs and origins of the two vodkas are similar, but what about the taste? Taste might be based on subjective opinions, but some fans think Kirkland Signature vodka better than Grey Goose vodka. Munchies notes that the former alcohol rating site Under the Label scored Kirkland Signature vodka higher by about four rating points on a 100-point scale. That's pretty impressive, considering the Kirkland Signature vodka is one-third the price of the Grey Goose option.

The two do seem to taste alike and even have a similar viscosity, but the Grey Goose vodka seems to have more character than the Kirkland Signature one. Its fans credit it with having a certain sweetness and crisp finish; Thrillist says the Kirkland Signature vodka doesn't have the same sweetness.

When it comes to vodka, it's often well liked because of its lack of flavor more than anything else. It's often thought of as a neutral spirit fit for mixing or sipping for a tasteless buzz. And the Kirkland Signature vodka's success and high rating seem to be thanks to its reliability in these regards.