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Raising a glass to Kirkland
Pat Volchok gives a
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Signature craft beers
THE “BREW;HAHA” wasn’t hard to miss when
word first spilled in 2008 that Costco was introducing its own private-label, American-brewed
Kirkland Signature™ handcrafted beers. Quite a few
industry naysayers were quick to question Costco’s
ability to craft beers of distinction.
No one’s questioning such a move now, with
sales of Costco’s golden nectar (available in only 339
warehouses, due to state laws) foaming up after just
two years to an astounding 800,000 cases sold in
Annette Alvarez-Peters, who oversees Costco’s
wine, beer and spirits program, says, “We saw an
opening to offer quality beers of character at a savings
and jumped at the chance to tap into the market.”
And tap they did, creating a 24-bottle case of
12-ounce bottles filled with four noteworthy and
authentic styles of artisanal beer: American pale ale,
American amber, hefeweizen and German lager.
(Seasonal rotations are on the horizon for 2011.)
dent, traditional breweries with annual production
of less than 2 million barrels per the Brewers
Association’s craft beer guidelines.
Lance reports, “Our team discovered that fine
American crafted beers quickly stand out from the
rest. They possess an uncompromising attitude and
traditional approach you experience from first sip
Romar adds, “We are very pleased with our
West [Coast] and East Coast brewmasters. They are
two of the leading craft brewers in the country. Both
agree with Costco’s goal—to have Kirkland
Signature be the new benchmark for exceptionally
fine crafted beers at a savings.”
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66 ;e Costco Connection SEPTEMBER 2010
Masters of the craft
Costco knew that the program’s success hinged
on partnering with extraordinary craft brewers.
So Annette, with buyers Lance Wright and
Romar Nichols, drew up a list of superb, indepen-
I express a desire to witness the making of
Costco’s liquid gold and soon find myself traveling
with Annette to visit Costco’s West Coast craft brewer.
I know something wonderful is cooking the
moment we step inside the brewery doors. A heady
scent of hopped beer fills the air. Welcoming us is
one of the most famous brewmasters in the country.
I recognize him instantly, but am sworn to secrecy,
for the sake of confidentiality.
The man radiates an intense passion for the