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What You Need To Know Before Buying Costco's Kirkland Irish Country Cream

Kirkland Irish Country Cream store display
Kirkland Irish Country Cream store display - costcotreasures/Instagram

Baileys Irish Cream is an iconic liqueur that makes a delicious addition to coffee, cocktails, and desserts (such as a lip-smacking Baileys Irish Cream panna cotta). For those who think this alcoholic beverage is a bit pricy, Costco offers an alternative version that's more affordable. However, as perceptive Costco fans have pointed out on Reddit, there's a key difference between Costco's Kirkland Irish Country Cream and Baileys.

According to a commenter, Costco's version is "wine-based," while Baileys uses whiskey. This claim is further supported by the label, as Kirkland Irish Country Cream is described as a wine cocktail, while Baileys is a liqueur. Along with a difference in price (the OP of the Reddit thread claimed that Kirkland Irish Country Cream is $12 per bottle where they live, whereas a bottle of Baileys costs $40), there's also a difference in potency. Baileys has an alcohol content of 17%, while Kirkland Irish Country Cream is 13.9% alcohol.

Read more: All The Benefits Of A Costco Membership

Costco Once Offered A Closer Match To Baileys Irish Cream

Bottle of Kirkland Irish Cream liqueur
Bottle of Kirkland Irish Cream liqueur - Kelly Fricker/Facebook

As explained on a different Reddit thread, Costco actually offered two versions of its Kirkland Irish Cream. Along with the wine-based Country Cream, the chain also featured Kirkland Signature Irish Cream Liqueur, which was made with whiskey and had an alcohol content of 17%. Per the OP, the latter product has not been available at most locations since 2019. The lone exception is Alaska, which apparently still carries the whiskey-based product, according to a customer service representative.

One commenter believed that the issue is one of supply. "They're out of the other stuff. It'll make it back eventually," stated the shopper, claiming that Kirkland Signature Irish Cream Liqueur would eventually return to store shelves. However, the real reason might be more complicated than that. Another person explained, "Various regions can't sell liquor but can sell products where "wine" is the alcohol source." It's true that Costco maintains a few standalone liquor stores, but these establishments are all located in Canada. In the U.S., state laws regarding liquor sales can impact what type of products can be sold in grocery stores.

Products Containing Hard Liquor Are Often Tightly Controlled

Costco storefront daytime
Costco storefront daytime - Bing-jhen Hong/Getty Images

Picking up alcohol during a Costco run can be highly convenient, but not every person has the privilege to do so. U.S. state laws regarding alcohol sales vary quite a bit, and some states don't permit hard liquor (such as whiskey) to be sold in grocery stores. These places are known as control states, which refers to the fact that the state oversees the sale of liquor. There are 17 control states in the U.S., including Pennsylvania, Oregon, Ohio, Mississippi, and Utah.

In some states, liquor can only be procured from special stores that are owned and managed by the state. In these locations, it would be impossible for residents to purchase liquor from a store like Costco, as state law wouldn't permit it. This could explain why Costco developed a wine-based Baileys duplicate, as the product could appear in more stores than its whiskey-based counterpart. Similarly, only residents of certain states can take advantage of Costco's convenient liquor delivery service, as certain states don't allow it. While not totally the same, Costco members still have nice things to say about the chain's wine-based version. According to a shopper on Reddit, "For the price, I'm good with Kirkland's. It's definitely close enough."

Read the original article on Daily Meal.