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    Costco to Launch Private Label Craft Beer

    ISSAQUAH, Wash. -- Costco Wholesale Corp. reportedly is getting into the craft beer business with three private label offerings that might be brewed by the same company that produces Trader Joe's own-brand beers.

    ISSAQUAH, Wash. -- Costco Wholesale Corp. reportedly is getting into the craft beer business with three private label offerings that might be brewed by the same company that produces Trader Joe's own-brand beers.

    According to published reports, Costco last week filed label applications with the federal Tax and Trade Bureau for a Kirkland Signature Hefeweizen, amber ale and pale ale.

    The Kirkland label application comes on the heels of yesterday’s court ruling against Costco yesterday that rejected a lower court's ruling that Washington statutes banning certain volume discounts and preventing retailers from taking beer directly from a warehouse, which has been the subject of dispute between the retailer and Washington state beer wholesalers.

    According to Miller Brewing’s BrewBlog, Costco has received U.S. Treasury Department Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau label approval for three Kirland label craft beers: an amber ale, a hefeweizen and a pale ale.

    San Francisco-area craft brewer Gordon Biersch is said to be Costco preference for a brewer. While the labels have been approved, there are no reports as to whether Costco and Gordon Biersch have inked a deal.

    Beer industry analysts say Costco’s move toward craft beer is strong evidence that the popularity of the segment will continue to grow.

    Costco operates 531 warehouses, including 389 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 75 in Canada, 19 in the United Kingdom, six in Korea, five in Taiwan, seven in Japan, and 30 in Mexico.

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