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Is Costco Beer Cheaper?

cheap beer, costco beer purchase, buying costco beer

With the 4th of July holiday coming up, and warmer Summer weather in general, many Clever Friends will be heading to the liquor store to stock up on adult beverages, including beer. Many people would just go to the nearest liquor store for convenience, and don’t shop around for the best price of their favorite fermented beverage. Costco is known for great deals, and many locations also have a liquor store, so it is logical that Costco beer could be had at a great price.

Costco Beer vs Traditional Liquor Store

We’ve compared the price of some hard liquor from Costco to a neighborhood liquor store previously and found that Costco’s prices were significantly lower. Now, we’re going to specifically compare the price of Costco beer. I went to a nearby Costco and noted the selection and price of Costco beer in their liquor store. Then I went to a nearby liquor store and gathered the price of the same products to compare. The results are in the following table, all prices are for a 24 pack of cans unless noted otherwise.

Peer Table

The selection at Costco is limited to the most popular brands, and with very few exceptions are sold only in 24 packs. There are some specialty beers, such as 2 varieties of Surly, but these are limited to only the most popular of specialty beers at the current time. I would guess as time goes on, the selection will shift to reflect current trends.

The prices for Costco beer can be significantly lower, as shown by the dramatic price difference for Grain Belt Nordeast, Summer Shandy, Bud Light and Miller Light. Other Costco Beer brands have a lesser discount, and a few are actually nominally more expensive.

Costco Beer vs Keg

Another comparison a person may want to do is Costco beer and getting a keg. It would take about 7 cases of beer to equal a number of servings in a half barrel keg (about 16 gallons). Using those measurements, I cost compared the three brands of Costco beer that had the most savings over my local liquor store.

BeerKeg

Buying cases of Costco beer are less expensive on its own. However, once you take into account the other expenses and inconveniences of getting a keg (such as cups, ice, keg, and tap deposit), Costco beer may be a clear cut better choice.

Kirkland Costco Beer

Kirkland is Costco’s store brand product line.  They do have some Kirkland store brand beer as well, which can be had at a significantly less expensive price than your typical brand name beers.  For example, a 48 pack of Kirkland Light beer can be purchased for $22.49 which is only slightly more than a 24 pack of Bud Light at a traditional liquor store.  A 24 variety pack of Kirkland Craft Beers costs $19.99, whereas a similar 12 pack at a traditional liquor store is $15.99 or $31.98 for a 24 pack.  Whether these Kirkland products are good quality is subjective,  but certainly worth a try!

Costco is known for great deals, and buying Costco beer is no exception. While the amount of discount isn’t uniform, and the selection isn’t large, if Costco carries your preferred brand, and you shop at Costco anyway, buying Costco beer can definitely save you money, even if you are considering getting a keg.

How about you, Clever Friends, do you price compare beer? Have you ever bought beer from Costco?

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About the author

Brock

3 Comments

  • We don’t drink beer but we do drink liquor. In Michigan, there are state minimum prices on liquor, so they can’t charge any less than a store that sells brand names at state minimum prices. However, they do have Kirkland versions of some liquor, for example vodka, and it’s slightly less for a half gallon than the equal name brand. On top of it, I’ve heard that they just contract with the manufacturer of the brand name, but since they can’t sell the exact same formula, they’ll have them make it more pure. For example, I think their American vodka is equal to Skyy, which is distilled five times, so the Kirkland vodka is distilled six times. So theoretically it’s cheaper and better!

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