Costco has removed multiple lots of its popular Kirkland-brand vodka from shelves amid allegations that the spirit is leaving a bad taste in customers’ mouths.
In an email sent to customers last week (and shared to Reddit), Costco admitted that recent batches of Kirkland Signature American Vodka sold between June 12 and Aug. 10, 2023, did not meet the company’s standards for quality.
“It has come to our attention that the taste profile of units marked with certain lot codes may not have met the expected profile normally consistent with this product,” reads a statement shared with Nexstar, and also included in the email. “While not a food safety issue, this does not meet our quality expectations.”
The email appeared to indicate that Kirkland Signature American Vodka bearing any of 27 different lot codes was affected by the quality issue. (A representative for Costco did not provide the affected lot numbers in an initial statement shared with Nexstar.)
The big-box retailer is also offering refunds for purchases of Kirkland Signature American Vodka bearing those lot codes, according to the email.
Costco acknowledged its sub-standard vodka batches last week, after customer complaints began circulating on social media. One customer who complained on Reddit said the vodka “tasted terrible” while others alleged it was “hardly drinkable” and had a “horrible” odor.
One Reddit user who identified themselves as a Costco employee, meanwhile, claimed that the issue was caused by the vodka being tainted with hints of rum “due to a container not being completely cleared before it was used for vodka during transport.”
In its statement to Nexstar, Costco did not divulge any reasoning for the recent quality issue affecting Kirkland vodka, but confirmed all impacted lots were removed from sale.
“All of the specific lot codes are not in the market,” Costco’s statement concludes.