Courtesy of Tennessee Brew Works

It's the latest of a small handful of airports where you can get bottles beyond security.  

Noah Kaufman
September 11, 2017

As we’ve reported in the past there are well over 5,500 breweries in the United States right now, a massive number. And that means that almost anywhere you travel in the country, you can pick up a quality brew. But, one problem any beer tourist runs into is flying home with brews from all the places they visit. Yes, you can put whatever you want in a checked bag, but with most every domestic airline charging for checked bags now, you have to consider whether you want to add $25 on to the cost of a six-pack. You also have to consider whether you want your precious purchases left at the mercy of baggage handlers who may not be kind to your beer. Personally, my answer to both those questions is no, and that’s likely the answer of many other travelers who already try to stuff as much of their lives as they can in carry-ons.

Nashville’s Tennessee Brew Works though, clearly understands the challenges of trying to fly with beer. That’s why they opened up a stand where you can buy craft beer six-packs to go for easy transport to wherever your final destination may be. The Tennessee Brew Works kiosk began selling four and six-packs of five of their beers including the 1927 IPA, Cutaway Rye IPA and Southern Wit, as well as the limited-time State Park Blonde, a beer the brewery made to benefit the Tennessee State Park system, for $15.99 back in March between terminals A and B at Nashville International Airport.  They also sell 16 and 20 ounce pours from a rotating list of four or five taps for $8-$10.50 to drink before you board.

Tennessee Brew Works is not the only craft brewery to set up shop in airport, nor is it the only one that sells bottles beyond the security line. Stone down in San Diego, for example, sells bottles and growlers. But most airport outposts don't offer the ability for travelers to carry their beers away. Interestingly, while most airports do not have reputations as the most welcoming places, Tennessee Brew Works Founder Christian Spears told me that he actually got assistance from the powers that be at the airport. "The idea for takeaway beer at the airport, or 'flight packs,' was an idea from a collective, led by the Airport Authority and participating concessionaires, including concessionaire Delaware North and Tennessee Brew Works. And, it certainly took the collective’s effort for it to be successful." 

With interest in craft beer as high as it is, fly-away six-packs seem like no-brainers, but red tape may be a reason they aren't more ubiquitous around the country. Spears said that, "there were certainly legal and regulatory hurdles, and without [the Airport Authority's] vision and persistence, we never would have overcome those obstacles."

But hopefully more airports will become open to the idea and other breweries will jump on board. When it comes to souvenirs, a few bottles of good local beer certainly beats the heck out of a snow globe from the Hudson News.