Costco Lobbies to Grow Private Brand

Private Brand beer wine and liquor has been a recurring theme over the last few months with retailers across the country actively growing the category. 7-Eleven, Sam’s, Walmart, Target and Costco are just a few of the retailers to serve up an adult beverage.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper yesterday published the story, “Costco has a big stake in the liquor game” focusing on Costco’s efforts to privateize liquor sales and to grow the Kirkland brand. The following a edited excerpt:

It’s no secret that Costco Wholesale Corp. is an enthusiastic cheerleader for privatizing liquor sales.

Cheerleader is probably an understatement. The bulk-retailer is more like a head coach or a running back, pouring thousands of dollars and resources into an initiative that would cut Washington state out of the liquor game.

The Issaquah-based company spearheaded a signature gathering campaign for Initiative 1100, one of two November ballot measures that will ask voters to let retailers sell spirits.

A long line of products sold at Costco stores, from coffee to toilet paper, are branded with Costco’s private label: Kirkland Signature. And in many states, you can add liquor to the Kirkland Signature line.

Over the last several years, Costco has added to its Kirkland Signature line — but also developed co-branded products with distillers.

“The company introduced a Kirkland signature vodka about five years ago — a first step toward carving out a bigger niche in the liquor market. Its most recent addition is tequila, which Benoliel said is a big seller in some regions.

“It’s very popular in California,” he said.

Costco was instrumental in gathering signatures for I-1100. It takes just over 241,000 signatures to get a measure on the ballot in Washington, and the campaign gathered nearly 400,000.

Read the entire story.

Growing Private Brands takes many shapes and active lobbying is the sign of a retailer committed to growing its business and its brands.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.