There’s something about the duty-free alcohol that makes you want to stock up on alcohol. According to The Economist, travelers spend $9 billion on duty-free spirits. What are most boozing globetrotters buying? Scotch. Instead of buying a hard to find local spirit, people are sticking with what they know. In a study of 13 regions, scotch was the most popular in 9 of the regions. Johnnie Walker alone makes up 24% of duty-free whisky sales. Absolut vodka comes in a distant second, followed by Jack Daniel’s and Chivas Regal.
Duty-free sales are important for all retailers; they spend a lot of energy and money trying to get you to buy their products in the time between passing security and boarding the plane. Understandable, since waiting in airports always makes us want to drink. Of course, one reason people buy duty-free beverages is so that they can sneak a sip or twelve on the plane. Some airliners, like British carrier Jet2, are considering killing that buzz with tamper-proof bags that can only be opened with a sharp object. But don’t try to sneak an opener on a plane for your liquor—it’s really not worth the security hassle. Sometimes you just want to channel your inner Dierks Bentley and get drunk on a plane, but save the duty-free liquor for when you land.