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Stock up on Exclusive Local Booze at These 10 Airports

Let’s be honest; your loved ones don’t need another snow globe from your travels.

In the past few years of traveling, I’ve seen more and more airports with their shops selling beer, wine, and spirits beyond the fluorescent lights of duty-free. Sure, you can expect to pay more for these items, but you also aren’t limited to national brands.

If you’re planning on buying booze to bring home, be sure to have an extra bag to carry, and a padded sleeve never hurts to have. Look for brands you will likely only find there instead of items you can find at your home store. The next time you’re flying through these airports, be sure to check out these stores.

1 OF 10

Austin, Texas (AUS) 

Austin may be known for its live music scene, where you’ll find beer more than anything else. But it’s also one of the gateway cities for the Texas Hill Country and its incredible vineyards. If you don’t have time to explore, fear not. Austin’s airport has one of the Vino Volo wine bar locations, but this one specializes in Texas Wine Country’s chief product. Try a few varieties over flatbreads and live music before choosing a bottle to take home, including from Perissos and Bent Oak wineries.

Where to Shop: Vino Volo, Gate 8


2 OF 10

Cincinnati, Ohio (CVG) 

For the uninitiated, Cincinnati, Ohio, is the gateway to the distilling region of Northern Kentucky that predates many of the big names in Bardstown and Louisville. In fact, it’s home to the operating distillery with the state’s third-issued distilling license, where barrels would be shipped down the Ohio River. Cork N Bottle is one of the country’s best bottle shops and has an airport locale for picking up bottles of Kentucky bourbon without checking a bag.

Where to Shop: Cork N Bottle, Concourses A and B

3 OF 10

Louisville, Kentucky (SDF) 

Of course, the gateway city to the brown water paradise has multiple shops to stock up on America’s spirit before heading home or even to enjoy before touring the distilleries. Before security, the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail shop has bottles of the big names on the trail, bourbon-related books, and gifts that you can put into your checked bags. Distillery District Marketplace is after security and carries all of the big names like Michter’s and Four Roses. But if you’re traveling on a Sunday, remember that alcohol can’t be sold until after 1 pm. 

Where to Shop: Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Before Security; Distillery District, Atrium

4 OF 10

Memphis, Tennessee (MEM)   

Brown water fans know the difference between bourbon and Tennessee whiskey, a distinct product made within the state that goes through charcoal filtration. Most of the companies that make it are further east, but some great distilleries are also in the Memphis area. Distillery District is the only spot in the airport to grab a bottle of Old Dominick, the city’s first distillery, conveniently located after security. Wiseacre Brewing Company’s Wise Omega Bodega is an outpost of the popular brewery with a take-out counter where you can grab a beer to go.

Where to Shop: Distillery District, Rotunda; Wise Omega Bodega, between gates 21 and 23

5 OF 10

Milwaukee, Wisconsin (MKE) 

While it may seem odd to list a beer city, the Milwaukee airport is one of the places you can pick up a case of the cult-favorite New Glarus Spotted Cow beer, which is only distributed within the state. It’s a common souvenir of expat Wisconsinites heading elsewhere or travelers who have gotten the bug while visiting. Just plan on counting it as one of your carry-on bags.

Where to Shop: Pizzeria Piccola, Concourse C; Great American Bagel Bakery, Concourse C

6 OF 10

Nashville, Tennessee (BNA) 

Just like in Memphis, Tennessee, whiskey fans won’t be disappointed while shopping within the Nashville airport, offering both bottles that can be taken home or a cocktail to enjoy at the gate. Expect the big names like Jack Daniel’s and George Dickel, the state’s two oldest distilleries, and newer operations like Company Distilling. Whiskey Trailhead is another option after security in the atrium area before the gates to pick up a special souvenir.

Where to Shop: Tennessee Whiskey Company, Concourse D; Whiskey Trailhead, Central Marketplace


7 OF 10

New Orleans, Louisiana (MSY) 

As you’d expect, there are plenty of places in New Orleans to grab a drink. And that certainly extends to the airport. Before going through security on level 1, Parish Provisions has snacks plus regional wine, craft beer, and spirits, which you can either take with you upon arrival or put into your checked baggage to take home. Moisant Market sells sandwiches (including Central Grocery’s muffalettas), coffee, and, surprisingly enough, bottles of wine.

Where to Shop: Parish Provisions, Before Security; Moisant Market, Concourse B

8 OF 10

Portland, Oregon (PDX)   

Portland is known as a beer-loving city, with dozens of breweries within its limits. But you’ll also find two within the airport. Deschutes Brewery has an onsite restaurant but also sells bomber bottles to-go. Hopworks Urban Brewery has a similar setup and has cans to-go to enjoy at the gate or if you pack it carefully when you get home. Whiskey lovers can also rejoice at the airside location of Westward Whiskey, which operates a tasting room with flights and cocktails. You can also pick up bottles of the award-winning spirits, including cask and barrel-aged varieties.

Where to Shop: Westward Whiskey, Concourse C; Deschutes, Concourse D; Hopworks, Concourse E

9 OF 10

San Francisco, California (SFO) 

Even if you’re not headed to Napa or Sonoma, you can still enjoy some of California’s best bottles of wine within the confines of the San Francisco airport. SF Uncork’d is a necessary stop as it has been rightly named one of the country’s best airport bars. Enjoy a glass or flight of the wide range of varieties before picking a selection to take with you. The bar also has craft beer and light bites from the Golden State. If you’re in Terminal 2, Napa Farms Market also has a great selection.

Where to Shop: SF Uncork’d, Terminal 3; Napa Farms Market, Terminal 2

10 OF 10

San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU) 

While the San Juan airport is your standard duty-free experience, it’s a worthy exception to the rule as one of the best places in the greater United States to buy quality rum. You’ll find big names like Bacardi and smaller brands that don’t often make it to shelves stateside, like Ron del Barrilito and Palo Viejo. The only catch is that you can only purchase when leaving the island, so prepare to stock up before boarding.

Where to Shop: Duty Free, After Security