What’s in a name or the barrel? – Costco’s ‘Kirkland’ bourbon

Kirkland BourbonTake a look at this story from the community based journalism website Insider Louisville by Steve Kaufman it presents an intriguing look at Costco’s Private Brand Kirkland Signature,

What’s in a name?: The story behind Costco’s private label ‘Kirkland’ bourbon
Two things Kentuckians know, right down to their marrow: They know their basketball and they know their bourbon.

Costco Bourbon 2Washington knows apples.

So here comes Costco out of Issaquah, Wash., that most mass of mass merchandisers, with its own brand of bourbon. “Kirkland Signature Premium Small Batch Bourbon.”

And my first thought is: Go back to Issaquah and stick to what you know! We wouldn’t come up to Seattle peddling Natural Falls of the Ohio pure bottled water. Or Genuine Bardstown Road mountain climbing gear. Or the Kentuckiana Digi-Tech Incubation Center.

You already have Amazon and Microsoft, Starbucks and Nordstrom — keep your hands off our bourbon.

The name Kirkland, by the way, refers to a nice-enough waterfront town in the Eastern Seattle area, right across Lake Washington. But it has no history of moonshine or stills, hooch-runners or revenooers. It’s not rural and romantic, it’s suburban and antiseptic. It’s probably about three months old.

And Kirkland is also the brand of all Costco private label merchandise. It would be like saying, “We’re out of bourbon right now, but try our Pappy Van Winkle frozen cheesecake.”

So am I just being grumpy and territorial? Is this stuff in fact drinkable?

Read the entire story.


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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.