In related Costco news, Miller’s Brew Blog is reporting that the big box store chain will be creating three private label beer brands under the Kirkland name: a hefeweizen, amber ale and pale ale. The Gordon Biersch production brewery in San Jose, California — who also makes competitor Trader Joe’s private label beers — will be brewing the beer for Costco. Private label products tend to have higher profit margins than regular brands, so undoubtedly that’s the motivation here, as well. Given that most Costco stores carry only a very few beers, and even fewer craft beers, this strikes me at first blush as another bad omen for better beer. I doubt they’ll be increasing the number of beer skus each store will carry but more likely will shove less well-established local brands out the door to make room for these.