How Non-Members Can Buy Costco Alcohol (In 14 States)

Groucho Marx once said, "I don't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member." This may be true for the country clubs Groucho was referring to, but he'd probably be singing a different tune if he had the opportunity to join the iconic Costco membership club. While Costco is far from an exclusive organization — anyone with $60 to spare per year can get a basic membership card — the access it gets you to bulk products and deals is enough to make anyone on the outside squirm with jealousy. One can't even access the food court without a membership, which means only the select few can try this hack for extra crispy Costco pizza. Luckily, there are a few products and services the retail giant makes accessible to the general public, such as prescriptions, eye exams, and most importantly, alcohol (at least in certain states).


Liquor laws vary from state to state, and although Costcos in states like Oregon and Oklahoma are allowed to restrict alcohol access to members only, the laws in other states force the store to be a bit more lax. In these states, it's illegal for any store to require a membership to buy alcohol, so if you live in Arizona, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, or Minnesota, you can peruse Costco's selection of beer, wine, and liquor without a membership.

Differences across states and stores

Costcos in a few other states also allow non-members to buy alcohol, but not every location has the full selection of beer, wine, and liquor. Stores in Ohio, Texas, and Vermont only offer beer and wine. In Colorado, Connecticut, and Georgia, the availability of any alcohol varies from Costco to Costco, so you should check that your nearest location even sells booze in the first place before you try and skirt the membership fees. Mississipians can buy wine and spirits without a Costco card, but you'll have to sign up if you want to purchase beer. That sounds like as good a reason as any to brush up on your home bartending skills. New York's rules are the same as Mississippi's, but wine and liquor are only available at the Costco located in the Long Island neighborhood of Oceanside.


These various liquor laws don't only apply to Costco — depending on the state, any membership-based big box store like Sam's Club or BJ's should also allow outsiders to purchase alcohol. Of course, just because non-members can peruse Costco's spirits at their leisure doesn't mean that actually purchasing a bottle is always smooth sailing.

An awkward transaction

Unfortunately, even card carrying members can't just carry bottles of alcohol out of Costco without paying (that's technically stealing). According to folks on Reddit, many Costco cashiers aren't even fully aware of this loophole, so you may have to speak with a manager or client services in order to make your purchase. This can end up taking quite a bit longer than a normal run to the liquor store, which may not be ideal for everyone, but there's absolutely no harm in trying.


If you have social anxiety or simply want to avoid a potentially awkward situation, you may want to save this hack for when you're in a pinch or planning for a big occasion. For example, given the gargantuan size of everything at Costco, grabbing a handle or two of alcohol can be a cost-effective move for supplying a big get-together. Costco is planning on expanding in the near future, so hopefully that means more people will be able to take advantage of all the perks it has to offer, whether they're a member or not. In the meantime, if you want a lot of alcohol at a fair price, rest assured that you don't need a Costco membership, just a bit of confidence.