Tips from a Professional Beer Drinker – Costco

Professional Beer DrinkerI’m starting a new series of posts to help impart some of the tricks I’ve picked up over the years. To start things off I’m going to give you one of the oldest ones in the book.

Everyone loves Costco, even those who don’t have memberships there, but one of the best buys at Costco is alcohol (at up to 35% off normal retail). So here’s the tip, YOU DON’T NEED A COSTCO MEMBERSHIP TO BUY ALCOHOL THERE. This little loophole is courtesy of some old laws that date back to the repeal of Prohibition, where some states wanted to do away with membership only speakeasies and such. These types of laws exist in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Texas and Vermont. There is also a similar national law in regards to prescription medications.

Costco Craft BeerFor many years I’ve been using this loophole for spirits and wine, but in the last year Costco has really stepped up their craft beer game. On my last trip, they were selling Stone, Avery, Boston Beer Company, Golden Road, and some Belgian beers all at prices lower than anywhere I’ve ever seen. As always with non-beer-savy retailers, age and freshness can be a question, but for the most part I haven’t had any issues. One thing to note is that the selection seems to be different at every location, so you may be able to find different stock at different locations.

So here’s how it works. Go to the card checker and tell them you are only buying alcohol. They will either just wave you through or make you get a slip from the membership desk. Go pickup your beer, wine, or spirits and head to the register (FYI you won’t be able to purchase any other items by this method). The only catch is you must pay with cash, debit, or American Express (which applies even if you have a Costco membership). That’s it!

Jeff Prosser

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