Costco and Craft Beer

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by QuakeAttack, May 21, 2013.

  1. Giovannilucano

    Giovannilucano Devotee (443) Feb 24, 2011 New Jersey

    I do love Costco! I used to work there for a long time!
    VictorWisc likes this.
  2. VictorWisc

    VictorWisc Devotee (463) Jan 2, 2013 Massachusetts

    Thanks for the comment. I wasn't implying victimhood. Just remarking on price/customer experience ratio. It's a warehouse, so it may seem sometimes that they don't give a shit about their customers (Walmart usually doesn't, except for the bottom line that you buy something). Generally I agree. It's a business, they want to make a profit. Don't like it, don't shop there. But you might recall a comparison between, say, Circuit City and Best Buy, where Circuit City use to have better selection and better prices and, at one point, more knowledgeable staff and better customer-relations policies. Then they decided that neither staff nor customers mattered and laid off all their experienced employees with an offer to rehire, but at the bottom tier. Customer experience suffered and they were bankrupt months later (it's a bit more complicated than that, as much of their profit margin came from large-ticket items and having experienced staff trying to explain to you why a $4000 TV is better than a $3000 TV was a big deal). You could see the customer base dropping in their reports (and at the registers). Best Buy is virtually the lone survivor in its niche because they are seen as customer-friendly.

    PS: What I was actually thinking is that they could get a great deal on something (like Ruin10, for instance), look around what everyone else charges and undercut them by, say, a quarter. This would still make them a bargain, but customers would be paying more into the profit margin at Costco than at Stone. Costco doesn't really do that. They get a special deal, they pass it on. For comparison, take a look around on end-of-season prices on Founders Breakfast Stout. At one store, I was told that Founders was switching to 6-packs, so distributors were selling off cases at a discount. That was the same store where the 4s were priced at $8.99 and cases at $42. Other stores that got the same deal from the distributor priced theirs at $10.99 (still a discount, but not much). Yet others just absorbed the discount and kept the regular price. It's a choice. They have a right to make a buck. I still have a right to think that they are greedy.
    Stugotzo likes this.
  3. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (2,408) Sep 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    We were @ Costco yesterday where I saw 750s of Chimay Blue and Duvel stocked for the first time, both priced marginally lower than most places but not jaw-droppingly low. I passed. I could see buying a case of something like Rochefort 10 or Orval if the price was right.
  4. Stugotzo

    Stugotzo Initiate (0) Jun 13, 2012 Florida

    I can tell you what they carry in the Clearwater store. I go there once every 3-4 weeks and was just there yesterday.

    They had a Magic Hat 24-pack sampler. That was about it for "craft" beer.

    They had the usual Bud Light, Miller Lite, Mich Ultra, Coors Light, and Corona and Corona Light. They had a Mexican 24-pack sampler (Dos Equis, etc.), and some of the other usual imports - Stella, Heineken, etc.

    I think they had some Sam Adams as well.

    The only major "find" I've seen at my Costco was Chimay Blue about a year ago for $9.99/bottle, which was the same price at the time, as Total Wine.
  5. jcb7472

    jcb7472 Devotee (495) Jul 13, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Thanks for the info. If that's what they have in the Tampa Bay area, I can guarantee that they don't have anything better in South FL. That lineup sounds the same as they have at BJ's.
  6. opwog

    opwog Defender (663) Jun 16, 2008 Minnesota

    Again, I wasn't a member when I lived in the Bay Area, so I couldn't guess at what they carried, but I definitely agree about that tequila! I always have a bottle of the silver in my cabinet.

    As far as that pricing, that is unbelievable. I don't think that anybody is going to think that they are getting screwed by Costco if the margin is 8.5% versus 6% on a specific item. Those are getting down to straight grocery margins for a place that offers far more than groceries. I suppose that keeping the SKU count down (less selection) in many categories is what has kept them from predatory marketing lawsuits at those margins.
    VictorWisc likes this.
  7. 5thOhio

    5thOhio Devotee (499) May 13, 2007 South Carolina

    The reason Circuit City staff tried to explain to you that a $4000 TV was better than a $3000 on is that they were paid commission.
    Kyrojack, yemenmocha and VictorWisc like this.
  8. MaltMilkshake

    MaltMilkshake Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    You would think that if it's Costco they would force you to purchase a case.
  9. VictorWisc

    VictorWisc Devotee (463) Jan 2, 2013 Massachusetts

    Not that it matters, but you must be thinking of Sears... At Circuit City, sales people had no problem referring you to someone else, which is unheard of in commission-driven stores. Just imagine what beer sales would be like if they worked on commission.

    The point was not that they were trying to sell you more expensive stuff (in my experience, they were not), but that they knew the difference and could explain it. At Best Buy, they don't even know if appliances come in anything but white.
  10. 5thOhio

    5thOhio Devotee (499) May 13, 2007 South Carolina

    Well, sorry to disagree, but I was told just that by a Circuit City employee back in the day.

    And having done some sales myself, I know that any salesperson will tell you it's not uncommon to agree to split a commission when sending a customer from one salesperson to another. In fact, if you sent a customer to another salesperson and they didn't split with you, it would be considered really bad behavior.

    And I agree about Best Buy, and most big box stores for that matter.
    VictorWisc likes this.
  11. shutyourface

    shutyourface Initiate (0) Aug 24, 2010 New York

    We get bullshit here in NYC, wish i could get some good local stuff at a decent price.
  12. RobinLee

    RobinLee Zealot (583) Feb 15, 2012 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    The best my local Costco has done is 3 packs of 750ml Duvel for about $21 last Thanksgiving/Christmas. Recently had one that'd been sitting around in the basement, quite delicious.
  13. wsucoug96

    wsucoug96 Aspirant (202) May 18, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    At the Costco in Issaquah (Seattle suburb, and also home of Costco headquarters), they usually have a pretty good variety, but nothing like RuinTen or Parabola or Abyss. I've seen the following craft options over the 10+ years I've been shopping there:

    Hale's Mongoose IPA (pretty much always)
    Chimay blue (a few times)
    Duvel (a few times)
    Deschutes seasonals (frequently, but I'm talking Red Chair or Twilight, etc., not Abyss)
    Ninkasi (cases of Total Domination bombers occasionally, seasonal variety four-pack once or twice)
    Rogue Amber Ale (case of bombers, still quite expensive at like $58, if I recall correctly; occasionally available)
    Rogue Dead Guy (case of 24, can't remember price, used to be pretty frequent but haven't seen for a while)
    Unibroue variety two-pack (just once that I can recall)
    Chouffe IPA Tripel (just once)
    Rodenbach Grand Cru (just once)
    Various Sam Adams
    Various New Belgium

    I'm sure I'm missing some things, but those are the ones that stick in my mind. I don't usually buy there, except for the Ninkasi four-packs, which I think were a couple bucks cheaper than anywhere else. (And the Chouffe and Rodenbach.)
  14. Iamstryker

    Iamstryker Initiate (0) Aug 11, 2012 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Haven't been a member for long, but so far in NJ we have.

    Sam's Seasonal packs
    Sam's Lager
    Riverhorse summer sampler cases
    Ommegang Winter giftboxes
    DFH 60 min

    Never have single bottles, but the wine selection is supposedly amazing.
  15. BlindSalimander

    BlindSalimander Initiate (93) Aug 16, 2010 Texas

    Lately at the Southlake, TX store they have had these four pack of the Sam Adams Small Batch Collection for $20. I remember in the late winter/early spring it contained the Merry Mischief among others and now has more summer options.
  16. Spikester

    Spikester Poo-Bah (1,695) Jul 14, 2007 Oregon

    Costco in Salem has recently kicked Samuel Adams to the curb in favor of a big display of Kirkland beer. Boo! Hiss!
    Never seen a bomber here. It looks like wine country mostly.
  17. VictorWisc

    VictorWisc Devotee (463) Jan 2, 2013 Massachusetts

    I wish we got Ommegang samplers! The wine selection is not "amazing" but very serviceable and the prices are very comparable to other stores' case sales (10-20% off 6/12). And these are everyday prices, so it's pretty good. The good thing about the wine selection is that aside from the mass-product (1.5L and such), they don't have many low points. Their wine buyers tend to be knowledgeable.

    I haven't been to any NYC stores in a long time (last time in Brooklyn maybe 7 years ago), but a year ago I was in a LI store and they had Brooklyn cases. They also had an exceptional scotch deal that they offered at a tasting along with the wine (kind of bizarre, really). I know, I know, this is a beer forum...

    I had some of the Kirkland samplers. Some selections are pretty good, the others sub-par. They also may differ regionally, as I have no idea who brews them. But I haven't seen any Kirkland beers for the past 9 months. Maybe they decided to phase them out as "unsuccessful".
  18. beerinNV

    beerinNV Initiate (0) Jan 3, 2012 Nevada

    Kirkland beer is Gordon Biersch
    VictorWisc likes this.
  19. Wolfhead

    Wolfhead Initiate (163) Sep 1, 2009 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Here in the far NW burbs the closet thing to craft is SNPA and around the Holidays I've seen Celebration which I purchase like a mad man. About a month ago I saw a half a skid of Lagunitas IPA that didn't last a week and years ago they would have Goose Island IPA (pre InBev) but haven't seen that in a while. Never seen bombers of anything but great wine selection and excellent prices on the hard stuff
  20. Dchlocal

    Dchlocal Initiate (0) Jun 1, 2011 California

    What Costco was this pic taken at?
  21. sharpski

    sharpski Champion (825) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    Gordon Biersch in West, FX Matt in East.
    VictorWisc likes this.
  22. ClippersSD

    ClippersSD Aspirant (206) Jul 17, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    Costco in San Diego (Mission Valley location) is selling

    Alesmith IPA
    Green Flash Imperial
    Lost Abbey Red Barn
    Ironfist Velvet Glove
    Ironfist Renegade Blond
    Stone Ruination

    I believe Costco is making a push to sell local craft brew at their locations
    swolepeer, yemenmocha and VictorWisc like this.
  23. jonbonfon

    jonbonfon Initiate (0) Jul 16, 2011 California

    Dude, I thought the same thing last Saturday at my Costco in Tustin, CA!

    Avery Maharaja
    Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous

    To name a couple
    VictorWisc likes this.
  24. Rish907

    Rish907 Initiate (0) Jun 14, 2013 California

    Just picked up a case of ruinten at a Costco in irvine! At $5 ea it's a steal!
    2beerdogs and yemenmocha like this.
  25. jucifer1818

    jucifer1818 Initiate (0) May 15, 2011 Florida

    this thread really makes me want to check out the local costco : 3
  26. Spikester

    Spikester Poo-Bah (1,695) Jul 14, 2007 Oregon

    I believe that is true for the West Coast but may not be the case eslewhere.
  27. DougC123

    DougC123 Devotee (470) Aug 21, 2012 Connecticut

    It is like sharpski said four posts ago, Matt in the East.
  28. nc41

    nc41 Meyvn (1,387) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    The Costso here sells top end Champagne too never thought I'd see Dom on the shelf.
  29. Focusf111

    Focusf111 Initiate (0) Jun 21, 2012 Vermont

    Anyone have any idea what the selection in the Costco in cholcester, vt is like?!?
  30. sharpski

    sharpski Champion (825) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    Costco is the #1 seller of Dom in the US (or at least was a few years ago, and I don't think anything's changed).
  31. Highbrow

    Highbrow Devotee (450) Jan 7, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    more not so great pix but here's a few things that were at the store moments ago:












    yemenmocha and dianimal like this.
  32. Rollzroyce21

    Rollzroyce21 Meyvn (1,028) Oct 24, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    How much were those Hitachino's? I'd def pick up a couple of those if less than $10.
  33. Stugotzo

    Stugotzo Initiate (0) Jun 13, 2012 Florida

    You may want to read the Florida replies first.

    I love Costco. But there's no craft going on there in Florida.
  34. jucifer1818

    jucifer1818 Initiate (0) May 15, 2011 Florida

    A fair point, but If I ever find myself in a store browsing, I will still be checking out their liquor store/beer section just to take a chance.
    cant hurt right?
  35. LegalBrew87

    LegalBrew87 Initiate (0) Mar 6, 2012 California

    Good lord. Where is that?
  36. VictorWisc

    VictorWisc Devotee (463) Jan 2, 2013 Massachusetts


    That does it! Moving back to California tomorrow... I want half-a-case of each, except for Rogue...
  37. Stugotzo

    Stugotzo Initiate (0) Jun 13, 2012 Florida

    VictorWisc likes this.
  38. Highbrow

    Highbrow Devotee (450) Jan 7, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    at the location the guy from Texas earlier claimed there's nothing worth talking about except Stone 8pks.

    p.s. that wasn't everything either!
    keithmurray and VictorWisc like this.
  39. BurgeoningBrewhead

    BurgeoningBrewhead Initiate (0) Jul 18, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I feel your pain. Luckily I'm close enough to the NY border that I can get most of my craft beer from there. You got any Wegmans near you? They sell beer, and have a nice selection of craft. They used a loophole because they have an eating area.
  40. dianimal

    dianimal Initiate (161) Apr 18, 2012 California

    Not sure if you already answered this, but which Costco is this?
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