Airport boozing on the up

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The Independent Travel

America's airport bars are opening for longer to make up for lost revenue, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper reports that bars at Chicago's O'Hare International (and the smaller Midway Airport) will be allowed to open for 24 hours, and that Las Vegas airport is to build a bar in the baggage claim area.

Even further afield, it seems that boozy airports are on the up - this week, Diageo said that it had reached an agreement with Dubai airports to offer the first-ever alcohol sampling in the Middle Eastern state's airport.

The "Mentorship Experience" will provide flyers with an opportunity to step inside a pod and try (under supervision) Diageo's premium brands such as Johnnie Walker whisky.

In Hong Kong, Rémy Cointreau recently unveiled its super-premium Rémy Martin Louis XIII Fortress cognac display at Hong Kong International, the first time the whisky, which sells for several thousand dollars, has been displayed in Asia.

Airports, where the adage "it's always five o'clock somewhere" seems that little bit more meaningful, have long been targeted by bars and drinks brands.

In 2009, wine and spirits accounted for around 17 percent of duty free revenue, according to Swedish Duty Free analyst Generation Research.

Although sales had fallen by nearly seven percent since 2008, more recent figures appear to suggest that alcohol sales are rebounding - travelers spent a reported $3.1 billion (€2.35 billion) on liquor in the first six months of 2010.

The world's best airport bars
(Selected by Travel + Leisure magazine)

1. Nørrebro Bryghus, Copenhagen Airport
2. Vino Volo, JFK
3. Post Bar, Changi Airport