NE DC’s Costco For The Win

To the many things millennials are killing – cereal, napkins, etc. – we need to add Costco. That makes me sad. It’s not that I go to Costco so often, maybe quarterly or twice a year, but when I do, I’m generally made pretty happy by the experience. What’s not to love about leaving with a car load of goodies at a good price. And there’s no better place to stock up for a party.

I think I have a party to thank for one of my newer Costco hacks: the “new” Costco in NE DC, off New York Avenue on your way out of town, has an excellent hard liquor selection. I came home with a handle of Johnny Walker Black label, large format bottle of Patron Silver, liter of Grey Goose, as well as Jefferson bourbon. I took a hard look at the Kirkland stuff, too, picking up a bottle of unbranded 18 year blended scotch – probably a Chivas or something similar judging by what else they carry. As I said, happiness.

So when I had a mid-morning meeting in Baltimore recently, I decided to swing by the Costco on my way up. I got to the parking lot right before the 10 am opening, so I could run in, grab my booze, then get to my meeting on time. (There’s nothing incongruous about that sentence – at all!)

Here’s the thing, I wasn’t the only person at the Costco parking lot at 9:55 am. At 9:58 or so, I saw people stream out of their cars to pick up carts and line up right in front of the warehouse door as the employee rolled it back. Then we were off.

I ignored the other temptations and went straight for the goods – the booze. After I piled up some large bottles, I looked longingly at the locked cabinet. That’s when I saw it, Yamazaki Japanese whisky.

If you’re not a fan of Japanese whisky, you’re missing out. Sometime in the early 2000s the Yamazaki won the top prize at a major international whiskey competition. This is similar to the Chateau Montelena moment which put California wines on the map. Since then, Japanese whiskies have slowly made their way into select stores and menus, gaining a small, but dedicated following.

For a while, I would look for it at Japanese restaurants (naturally). I would sometimes see it at the liquor store, and even less frequently pick up a bottle.

But more recently, something terrible has happened: Japanese whisky got popular. It became trendy. And hard to find at liquor stores. And really expensive at bars.

In other words, millennials.

That’s where Costco came in to save the day. I found an associate who filled out the special form for me – I had to pay first, then go to the special window with my stamped form to pick up the goods. Apparently, he had just found the Yamazaki that morning, on a pallet mixed in with a bunch of other stuff. In other words, who knows how it found its way to Costco or how long the supply would last. While we were talking, a young man overheard us and exclaimed, “do you know how hard it is to find that?” I bought a second bottle.

Please, millennials, become more interested in going to Costco periodically, and I wouldn’t mind if you moved onto another trendier booze and left the Japanese whisky to me.


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