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Who Really Makes Costco's Kirkland Brand Tequila?

Aug 08, 2023

As most bargain shoppers know, Costco is an excellent place to find great deals. This is because Costco, like other discounted supermarkets such as Trader Joe's and Aldi, looks toward outside manufacturers to produce their products. As a result, the company can offer some extraordinary commodities at a lower price by selling those goods in private-label packaging. In Costco's case, the company's brand can be spotted through its iconic black, white, and red Kirkland Signature stamp. Because of this, several professional grocery sleuths and hobbyists have made it their mission to discover the true identities of Costco's secret producers. While this noble pursuit isn't always exact, particularly because suppliers constantly change, some items have been confirmed, such as Kirkland Signature Tequila — the current manufacturer of Costco's inexpensive adult beverage is Corporate Distillery Santa Lucia, S.A. de C.V.

Luckily, this information is relatively easy to find. The regulations that govern the well-known Mexican spirit make figuring out where a bottle's specific contents originate much more straightforward — you just need to know what to look for. In this case, that's the NOM number, or the Norma Oficial Mexicana number (the Offical Mexican Standard number). The good news is the NOM number is found on every single bottle of tequila.

Regarding alcohol, labels are important. However, in tequila's case, the NOM number is also essential. This four-digit pin helps consumers trace their favorite tequila's origins, but it's also meant to confirm the Mexican government's standards for quality, and rightfully so.

In Mexico, tequila is a part of the country's national identity and culture, so it makes sense that it would be closely regulated. As a result, through its health regulatory agency, the federal government has authorized the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) to inspect standards and ensure that distillers produce tequila that meets their criteria. Therefore, if that bottle of Kirkland Signature Tequila provides a NOM number (which it most certainly does), rest assured, it's real.

Besides, that's precisely how it can be traced back to Corporate Distillery Santa Lucia. It's just a matter of looking up the correct code, which in Kirkland Signature Tequila's current case, it's 1173. Once that's located, Corporate Distillery Santa Lucia should pop up after a quick Google search, along with all the brands the company supplies, including Kirkland Signature.

Although margaritas are a classic go-to for tequila drinkers, other tequila-based cocktails are just as delicious. It depends on whether you're working with añejo, reposado, or blanco tequila, which are the top three classifications.

An añejo, which can be aged up to four years in oak barrels, is best suited for sipping. Reposado tequila is also aged, although for a shorter period of time, up to one year. Reposado is often used in cocktails and is known for its complex flavor profile. Blanco tequila, on the other hand, has not been aged at all. This is another great tequila to use in cocktails and is often the kind you will see in margaritas, Palomas, and ranch water.

So next time you find yourself in Costco's liquor aisle and see their Kirkland Signature tequila, think about how you want to use it before you decide which bottle to pick up.