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Diatribe: Are Liquor Stores In Airports A Good Idea?


The last time I traveled internationally, I tried to take advantage of a Duty Free store at the airport to buy an unusual bottle of rum that’s not available at home.  Because the liquor store was in the airport, it was relatively easy to purchase a bottle of rum and carry it onto my flight.  Unfortunately, because I had a connecting flight before I reached my final destination, I could only purchase the bottle if I was able to check it in my luggage “under the aircraft”.  Since my suitcase had already been “checked” all the way through to my home airport, they wouldn’t sell me any rum.

<sad face>

Many travelers are familiar with these post-security, duty-free liquor stores accessible only to passengers flying on international itineraries. Soon, however, visitors to Las Vegas will be able to visit a liquor store is open to all, collecting sales and liquor taxes in the baggage claim area of McCarran International Airport.  The store is believed to be the first of its kind found within a domestic airport.

The Liquor Library, opened earlier this month and located in the airport’s Terminal 1, offers beer, wine, liquor, packaged snacks and cups, ice and mixers.  Travelers can get their party essentials before their checked bags even hit the carousels.

 “Essentially, we offer most of what any liquor store would.  Just in a much more traveler friendly location.” Liquor Library marketing director Diane Boyle.

Because the retail space is small – just 1,400 square feet – the Liquor Library designers decided to stack the stock on tall “bookshelves” which are accessed by “librarians” (a.k.a. sales clerks) who will climb up and down rolling, library-style ladders to retrieve customers’ orders.

“Our librarians wear charcoal grey pencil skirts, white button down shirts, black stockings and very cute spectacles while working on the sales floor,” Boyle said.

The employee uniforms may be charming, but the daily in-store tastings, hosted by different brands, may also help fuel sales.

During its first week of operation, the store hit its mark for projected sales of spirits, with Grey Goose, Kettle One, Jack Daniel’s and Kinky Vodka among the best sellers. Beer is said to be “flying off the shelves,” and there’s also been many sales of higher-end champagnes and wine, such as Dom Perignon, Veuve Cliquot, Duckhorn and Silver Oak.

Personally, I think a liquor store in an airport could be a bad idea.  There are plenty of opportunities to purchase alcohol in Las Vegas that don’t involve travelling.  I’m confident that this will be a big money-maker, but I fear it could do more harm than good.


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From → Diatribes

  1. Raybob permalink

    Um, there are *bars* in every single airport I’ve ever BEEN in. Purchasing alcohol and alcoholic drinks when traveling is not new.


  2. NY doesn’t allow wine sales in stores but does beer.

    I don’t see the down side. No one will open the bottles and drink them because they are trying to save money and bring it home and drinking alcohol outside of designated areas is forbidden so bars will still have to make your drinks.


  3. Easy accessible liquour married with available time usually means issues for some imbibers. That just one more has an impact. Pro sports games and long outdoor concerts also tend to cause exrtra imbibing. I saw the Allman Brothers with two opening acts and truly saw people falling down going to their cars. Safe travels, BTG


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