Whisky Magazine Issue 101
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Joe Bates goes back to the spiritual home of the duty-free sector
Ireland's Shannon airport is where it all began for the $39 billion duty-free industry. Back in the late 1940s a new era of transatlantic travel was dawning, but the lumbering piston aircraft that were used to make the long, arduous trip needed to refuel en route and Shannon airport perched on Ireland's west coast was deemed the perfect stopping off point.
Shannon soon became a gateway to Europe for transatlantic flights. Savvy airport managers saw the commercial potential of a duty-free store where bored and weary passengers could buy cheap booze, cigarettes and fragrances.
The duty-free industry never looked back, but the years have not been so kind to Shannon airport, which now relies on short haul traffic for its survival.
In recent times passenger numbers have fallen off sharply as Ireland slid into recession and low cost airlines axed flights to the airport. The airport's state-owned airport authority ARI Ireland is hoping a new €1m (£850,000) facelift of Shannon's shopping and dining offer, which opened in December last year, might help arrest the airport's declining fortunes.
A highlight of the revamped shopping offer is The Irish Whiskey Collection outlet, a scaled-down version of the larger concept store now trading at Dublin airport's Terminal 2, which has proved so successful since opening in 2009. Twenty new Irish whiskeys have been added to the Shannon range including two exclusives: Greenore 19 Years Old Single Grain (€250/£208) and Midleton Single Ca...