Why Costco's Kirkland Brand Light Beer Completely Failed

If you're a Costco shopper, you know the perks: You shop in bulk and you pay wholesale for everything from food, clothes, appliances, and even diamonds (Costco jewelry, anyone?). Over the years, Costco's signature alcohol selection has gotten rave reviews for flavor and price. Kirkland Signature brand vodkas are well-loved, and Costco's Scotch is even sourced from Scottish immigrant-owned distilleries. But it all came tumbling down when Kirkland released, and soon discontinued, its signature light beer.


It was sold in a 48-count case for about 50 cents a can, totaling $22 plus tax. The light beer was 4.2% ABV. Sounds like mega savings, right? But as soon as you look at the nearly ten thousand ratings on Untappd, a beer review platform, you'll see the measly two stars out of five that many people gave it. The beer was discontinued in 2018, but even now, people are bitter about it.

It tastes like battery acid

Scathing reviews on Beer Advocate give the beer a "poor" rating with customers calling it, "water, not beer, it is a shame they even put the word beer on the can," "very bad beer," and one topping off the insults by saying it "tastes like battery acid." Customer reviews on RateBeer were complaints, too. One reviewer said it smells like "a urine-soaked diaper sitting on a piping-hot radiator." RateBeer users gave the Kirkland light beer a score of 1.97 out of 5.


Shoppers clearly did not like the taste of this beer despite the low cost. Costco took note and quickly discontinued the beer. Not everyone hated the beer, though. A social media user named Randy Colpek made a spoof ad for the light beer in which he busted through a wall of beer cartons like the Kool-Aid man with one quirky quip after the next, and it went viral. It looks like he has enough cans in stock despite the discontinuation of the light beer.

Who makes Kirkland beer now?

If you plan to visit the Costco brewery, you're out of luck. There is no signature brewery. Instead, the corporate giant hires breweries and distilleries to make its signature brand of alcohol. Most Kirkland products sell for about 20% less than the brand name equivalent, which means more savings for the customers.


Costco always has changes in store. As of 2024, Kirkland beer is made by two different breweries: Matt Brewing and Gordon Biersch, which is also under the label of Hopfen Und Malz Brewing Co. for the West Coast market. A variation of the unpopular light beer was originally brewed by Regal Brau Brewing. Costco doesn't offer those monster 48-pack cases for sale anymore. A 24-count variety pack of Kirkland Signature beers of Session IPA, Kölsch German-Style Ale, Pale Ale, and India Pale Ale runs at about $20, depending on where you live. Luckily, these beers have fared a whole lot better than the light beer of yesteryears.