The Claim: Costcos Kirkland Signature Brand Vodka Is Actually Grey Goose
Are high-end vodkas outdone in taste by their cheaper, less prestigious peers? What makes a good vodka anyway? These questions are central to a viral claim thats circulated online for years.
Is Costcos Kirkland Brand of Vodka The Same As Grey Goose? an article from the recipe site 12Tomatoes reads. The question breathed life back into a years-old belief among many that the big box store’s less expensive and reportedly high-quality vodka was actually the prestigious vodka brand in different packaging.
Claims that comparable products are being sold under brands with wildly different price tags is nothing new.
But Grey Goose expressly denies the claims are true, citing the unique qualities and process of its brand. Other factors, including the production and origin of the vodkas, mean that while the two products may taste similar for some, they are different drinks.
Grey Gooses Creator Was All About French Decadence And Luxury
There wasnt a particular recipe or method that drove the creation of Grey Goose. Frank simply aimed to fill a gap he noticed in the beverage market: high-end vodka. Grey Goose is distilled in Picardy, France, but not because of any specific regional interest. As vodka is made by stripping alcohol of most of its congeners and funky flavor compounds, it can be made almost anywhere. But Frank chose a place specifically against tradition as in, not Eastern Europe. He wanted a vodka American consumers would immediately associate with luxury. And whats more posh than France, the home of Champagne and Burgundy?
Grey Goose Entered The Market As An Absolut Competitor
Part of the reason Frank invented Grey Goose was that he saw the success of the Absolut brand, which was priced highly for its time. Frank realized he could do one better. How to out-luxury a luxury brand? Raise the price. Thats it. Grey Gooses then-astronomical price was $30 a bottle, compared to the $17 Absolut.
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Production Types And Recipes
Grey Goose is a premium brand of French wheat vodka. Its name is synonymous with quality vodka, and the bottle is prominent in bars and liquor stores worldwide. The brand’s naturally-flavored vodka portfolio includes citrus fruits, melon, and vanilla, and their cherry and pear vodkas are the most impressive you will find. No matter the flavor, each is reminiscent of the clean, smooth taste found in the original clear vodka.
Considered one of the best, Grey Goose is often used as a benchmark when comparing other brands. Whether or not it really is the best or smoothest vodka is a matter of opinion. Yet, if you’re looking for a quality vodka that is reliable and at a reasonable price, then this is an excellent option. It’s a nice one to keep in your bar to create clean, smooth vodka cocktails.
Grey Goose Is Made In France Specifically For American Consumers
When beverage entrepreneur Sidney Frank decided to build a high-end vodka brand in 1997, he opted to do so in a place that his target drinkers, Americans, associate with luxury. He established a distillery in La Vallee de l’Oise, a region north of Paris, and a bottling plant in Cognac, an area synonymous with high-end French spirits. Here, he hired Francois Thibault, Grey Goose’s Maitre de Chai, or cellar master, a title Thibault earned during his time making Cognac. Thibault designed a French-centric production process, selecting base materials, water, and personnel to build a spirit suited to an American palate.
Everything from the liquid inside to the ink printed on the glass is made within the nation, and every day, workers from every position in the factory sit in the tasting room to evaluate the product. When asked whether the French have taken to Grey Goose in any measure that compares to Americans, Thibault laughs, indicating the factory’s tasting room: “The Americans love it more, but the French love it, too. We never have a shortage of volunteers.”
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Things You Should Know About Grey Goose Vodka
Even if youre not the biggest vodka fan, youve probably heard of Grey Goose. Its fancy alliterated name and iconic frosted glass bottle are just two of the things that make it so recognizable. But the real reason Grey Goose is so popular is because of its opulent reputation one of luxury, celebrity endorsements, and countless pop culturereferences. Its been mentioned in lyrics by mega-stars such as Jay-Z,Nicki Minaj, and Kid Cudi.
Grey Goose is a symbol of luxury, which fits its steep price and premium branding the latter of which draws criticism from drinks experts who claim premium vodka is often the same as lower-shelf versions of the spirit, since the entire point is for vodka to be flavorless and odorless.
Nevertheless, Grey Goose remains one of the most beloved vodka brands on the market. Read on for 16 facts about the brand.
There Are Rumors That Grey Goose Produces Costcos Vodka
Though this may break the hearts of many Grey Goose fans who pay top dollar for the stuff , there are rumors abound that Grey Goose produces Costco yes, Costco Kirkland brand vodka, which is also imported from France. According to Vice, Kirkland vodka, which is one third the price of Grey Goose, has frequently outperformed its counterpart in blind taste-tests. Grey Goose, however, adamantly denies affiliation with the brand.
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Jger And Grey Goose Are Step Brothers
Sidney Frank, the same guy behind the Grey Goose concept, started his importing company in 1972. Among his first product successes? Jägermeister. It wasnt overnight, but Frank saw some promise in the stuff, and by the mid 80s, so did college kids. With a little help from a squadron of liquor ladies dubbed the Jägerettes, Frank brought us all the pleasure of knocking back shots of a rich, dark German liqueur in far too large a quantity.
What Is & Who Owns Grey Goose
Grey Goose is a type of vodka consisting of many variations. The vodka boasts of fruit infusions such as Le Citron, La Poire, among others. Sidney Frank created the Grey Goose brand in the 1990s. Francois Thibault then composed the recipe. In the year 2004, Frank sold the brand to Bacardi after its success in the American market .
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Grey Goose Wants To Bust The Mythical Correlation Between Distillation And Quality
Grey Goose undergoes a single distillation process and claims that contrary to popular belief, the amount of times vodka is distilled has no effect on its purity or quality rather, its the source of the ingredients that have more of an effect on the taste. Were happy to report that thats right the amount of times vodka is distilled does not matter, despite what you might see being boasted on a premium vodka label.
There Are Many Variations Of Grey Goose
Aside from the classic Grey Goose vodka, there are also fruit-infusions: LOrange, Le Citron, La Poire, Cherry Noir, and Le Melon. As Carly Wray pointed out, all of these fruit flavours are from actual fruits, and all , are from France.
They also have another drink, Grey Goose VX, which has a hint of cognac mixed in with the vodka.
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Grey Goose Vodka Calories
For people who are watching weight, vodka will not ruin any of your plans. Vodka, compared to other alcoholic beverages, has the lowest number of calories . There is also zero carbs in vodka. This is why most dieters prefer it. The only thing one needs to watch out for is the sugary mixes that may contain lots of carbs.
Vodka contains only two ingredients, namely water, and ethanol. This is an indication that it does not have any nutritional value. In Grey Goose vodka, every ounce of serving has only 69 calories. The difference in the number of calories can differ depending on the sizes of the shots.
If you are mindful of the calories, you need to watch out for the brand of vodka that you drink. Most varieties of vodka, including Grey Goose, have 80 proof. This means that they have 40 percent alcohol. Therefore, any brand that has over 80 proof means that it has more calories
Determining Vodka Quality And Price
If all vodkas were the same wed only have one vodka. The differences are subtle, Tony Abou-Ganim, a mixologist and the author of Vodka Distilled, told USA TODAY.
At its core, vodka is distilled alcohol and water, but the ingredients and process used to make the alcohol vary by brand and country. Vodka enthusiasts contend that high quality ingredients and a more stringent process, like the one used by Grey Goose, justify its high price tag, Abou-Ganim explained.
It costs more to produce a vodka with rye or wheat than with sugarcane, for instance. The source of your water could factor into the price, and then theres importation costs, he said.
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While differences in the prices of wheat, water and the machinery used for distillation may be individually small among products, those initial costs can compound to produce wide variations in price.
And hopefully, in turn, for the additional expense that you put in, the consumer will have a better experience at the end, Abou-Ganim said.
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Differences Between The Vodkas
No, Grey Goose Vodka does not produce nor privately label Kirkland vodka, Joe McCanta, Grey Gooses Global Head of Education, told USA TODAY. This is a viral claim that has circled Grey Goose for many years and its completely false.
Costco had no comment.
The certificates issued for Grey Gooses various American products all state the products originate in France, confirming Grey Goose statements to USA TODAY.
From harvest to milling to distillation to bottling, every step is done in France. Only Grey Goose uses single origin Picardy wheat and water from our natural limestone well in Gensac-la-Pallue to craft a gluten free spirit of exceptional character, McCanta told USA TODAY.
Grey Goose told USA TODAY its vodka is distilled only once in an effort to preserve the quality natural ingredients and profiles of its ingredients. Kirkland Signature French Vodka states on its bottle that it is distilled five times.
Get The Best Out Of The Very Best Ingredients Believes Franois Thibault And Let The Quality Speak For Itself
In 1997, Thibault took two simple ingredients wheat and water and from them produced a new vodka that was not merely a premium vodka, it sold for twice the price of Absolut, the most expensive vodka then on the US market. And sell it did, especially when, one year later, it was declared the Worlds Best Tasting Vodka by the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago. Grey Goose was born. More remarkably still, it was born in the unlikeliest of places in the heart of the Cognac region of France.
In fact there are two other ingredients to Grey Goose vodka: François Thibault himself, and the man who came up with the name and the idea for Grey Goose, Sidney Frank.
Thibault was born in Cognac and worked at the Mounier distillery, where he became the maître de chai, or cellar master. Its a distinguished position in a town that is home to illustrious names like Hennessy, Martell, Rémy Martin, and Baron Otard. You would need to be a fool or a visionary to quit such a job and start to make vodka in Cognac, and many people in the Cognac business thought he was crazy.
So while Thibault created the recipe for Grey Goose, Sidney Frank was the marketing man who sold it. He was an importer of foreign drinks into the USA, including some of the impressive cognacs that Thibault had produced for Mounier. Frank made a fortune by persuading college students to make an obscure German drink called Jägermeister their drink of choice.
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What Is Grey Goose Made From
The Grey Goose brand was launched in 1997 and created by Sydney Frank and Francois Thibault. Owned today by Bacardi Limited, it is still made entirely in France.
The vodka begins with a selection of French wheat grown near the distillery in Picardy. Grey Goose is distilled one time through a five-column distillation process. Once distilled, it is moved to a bottling facility in the Cognac region and blended with limestone-filtered spring water from Gensac-la-Pallue. All Grey Goose vodkas are bottled at 40 percent alcohol by volume .
As with any flavored vodka, the base liquor establishes and either makes or breaks the entire portfolio. In keeping with the clear vodka’s top-shelf quality, the ingredients used in each flavor are natural, and the vodkas are free of other additives. Grey Goose flavors use French names.
It’s Blended With Water From Cognac
Ask any vodka distiller about what makes their spirit stand out, they’ll first point to the base material and its origin, and then the water supply. . Grey Goose gets its water from a 500 foot well in the Grande Champagne region of Cognac it’s been filtered through limestone over several centuries, and is drawn on the day that it’s destined for the bottling plant in the neighboring town of Gensac. Unlike some new craft vodka makers who prize the mineral content of their H20, Grey Goose goes to great lengths to strip the water of all mineral content before blending it into the finished vodka.
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The Origins Of Grey Goose
THE GREY GOOSE STORY
GREY GOOSE was created in 1997 by Sidney Frank and the brands Maître de Chai , Francois Thibault. It was acquired by Bacardi in 2004.
Francois was inspired by his training as a cognac cellar master and created a vodka designed to express the true taste and character of the ingredients. He still oversees every step of the unique journey from field to bottle.
GREY GOOSE vodka is distilled in the gastronomy capital of the world, France, using the traditions of the Maître de Chai with only two ingredients single-origin Picardie winter wheat and natural spring water.
The Fruit Flavors Come From Actual Fruit
Grey Goose, like most major commercial vodka producers, has brand extensions beyond their classic formula, namely four fruit varieties: orange, pear, lemon, and black cherry. In this case, the fruit flavors infused into the basic vodka actually come from fruit The lemons come from Menton, in the south the pears hail from the Loire Valley and the black cherries are sourced from the village of Itzassou in French Basque country.
The whole fruits are delivered to a parfumerie in Grasse , where the flavors and aromas are extracted and shipped back to Grey Goose in Cognac as essential oils that are then blended with the classic formula.
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Cheap Vodka Quality Taste
Despite these differences, the Kirkland-made-by-Grey Goose claims raise questions of how different luxury brands really are from their cheaper counterparts.
Grey Goose argues its investments and exclusive access to ingredients gives its brand a richer, deeper taste profile, according to McCanta.
Everyone has some type of perspective on Grey Goose it signifies something. But if you put six vodka glasses in front of people and ask them to taste for the best, theyre not always going to pick it, Abou-Ganim said.
That doesnt mean that Grey Goose isnt high quality, but that you have to go and do the work to decide whats the right taste for you, Abou-Ganim said. Its OK to like and use more than one type of vodka!
Kirkland Signature French Vodka is a popular drink among Costco shoppers, and has regularly topped Grey Goose in blind taste tests. The drink’s production process remains largely a proprietary secret, but the difference may not matter as much given federal regulations.
For years, the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Code mandated that vodka must be distilled and treated until it is “without distinctive character, aroma, taste or color.”
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Vodka is not about what you put in but what you take out before the final product, Abou-Ganim said. Really, the only way to learn more is to taste.
Bacardi And Cuba Today
Bacardi drinks are not easily found in Cuba today. The main brand of rum in Cuba is , produced by a company that was confiscated and nationalized by the government following the revolution. Bacardi later bought the brand from the original owners, the Arechabala family. The Cuban government, in partnership with the French company , sells its Havana Club products internationally, except in the United States and its territories. Bacardi created the Real Havana Club rum based on the original recipe from the Arechabala family, manufactures it in Puerto Rico, and sells it in the United States. Bacardi continues to fight in the courts, attempting to legalize their own trademark outside the United States.
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It’s All In The Details
One of the gentler vodkas, Grey Goose has soft, gentle notes. Savor each sip to experience a sweetness develop. The liquor has a floral aroma with notes of citrus, and a hint of almond. The vodka’s smoothness makes it ideal to be drunk straight or in mixed drinks.
Brewing of the Grey Goose vodka is overseen by Francois Thibault, a cellar master in Cognac. Winter wheat is the base for Grey Goose vodka, which is fermented and distilled in the Picardy region of Northern France, then the batch is brought south to Gensac-La-Pallue in the Cognac region to be blended with pure spring water. While the popular alcohol travels from one region to another during production, the company and this particular spirit takes its name from the grey geese that populate the Cognac region of France. The region’s Foire aux Pirons, or Festival of the geese, has become local tradition to celebrate the birds, and their role as a delicacy.