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Duty Free booze - why is it still a thing???

Stealthflyer

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Don’t forget that many places around Australia don’t have Dan Murphy’s. The one in Hobart only just opened a month or so ago.

I usually buy one bottle of duty free spirits with a Changi dollars voucher on the way home. But it’s a bit of a pain because I have to carry it onto the domestic flight back to Hobart afterwards. I wouldn’t bother with Australian duty free - the price difference isn’t worth the pain of lugging the bottles around for the four hours it usually take to connect and fly home.
 

offshore171

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Don’t forget that many places around Australia don’t have Dan Murphy’s. The one in
A good option in that case is EBay. There’s several reputable sellers such as Boutique Cellar, GoodDrop and others who have great prices, hard to find items, and participate in the frequent 20% off ebay promotions.

I wouldn’t bother with Australian duty free - the price difference isn’t worth the pain of lugging the bottles around for the four hours it usually take to connect and fly home.
Agreed. To put a figure on it, I’d want to be saving at least $40 to make the hassle worthwhile. Especially if it was something totally generic that is available everywhere.
 

Flying Fox

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I think that DF & airport shopping is sometimes the domain of leaving a country and having some local currency in hand that you want to 'get rid of' and hence spend at the airport and possibly top-up with your CC.

Hence you haven't 'wasted' your money.
 

FrankP

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You do need to do a little research first and figure what you want, esp. with local shops doing specials etc.. I’ve always found that Champagne, perfumes and chocolates are rarely/never cheaper, or not enough to warrant the purchase. Found this in any airport anywhere. Also only found minimal discounts on the common spirits like JW-Red and JBeam.
But last trip from SYD I found Limoncello at less than half price, and Hendricks Gin at about half price but ONLY for the 1L size. Time before that found 50% vodka at SIN was half the d-free of MEL. So, a bit of research is well worth it.
Being able to iPhone/google in the store to confirm what you see on the day (in-store offers etc) is a real bonus.

On the down side, I normally do return p/up but last trip for the first time I got diverted to BNE then home, never got back to SYD and so missed out - couldn’t pick the gear up and they couldn’t mail it to me. They were prompt with a refund (I had all necessary doco) BUT their website was info-poor.

Lessons for next time
- be sure to take a phone-photo of the sale receipt, it’s needed to arrange the refund
- I’ll maybe buy again on the way in, knowing I won’t be able to p/up
 

Fergo747

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Key reason for 'inconsistencies' on why some items are cheaper duty free (e.g. spirits) versus others is all down to the calculation of said duty. For those wanting to know:

Excise rates for alcohol.

Distilling the content in the link above (see what I did there), essentially spirits have a higher excise or duty due to their higher alcoholic content, so therefore provide the biggest discount / best deal when it comes to 'duty free', hence can be cheaper duty free rather than at Uncle Dan's. Other alcoholic drinks and items not so much where the excise is less or you might just be receiving the GST off (i.e. goods).
 

serfty

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This is true, something about how duty is calculated?
Yep, excise on spirits is based on the amount of Alcohol being sold.

A bottle of spirits with 50% alcohol has 25% more excise than the same sized bottle containing 40% alcohol.
 

Bodie

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Mrs Bodie and I often travel around our anniversary - so when the hotel ( we usually stay club level) find out- they often give a bottle of wine - we take home- regardless of value. For spirits, I research the price locally as well as duty free- but sometimes if very close and duty free have extra gift - we will collect duty free with gift. We also have brought alcohol from overseas stores - especially when they have extra savings ie half price- for members- we are now members to multiple stores around the world- then we dont need duty free as we have picked up enough overseas on sale.
 

serfty

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ep, excise on spirits is based on the amount of Alcohol being sold.

A bottle of spirits with 50% alcohol has 25% more excise than the same sized bottle containing 40% alcohol.
Current rate is $85.36 per lite of alcohol (not brandy); this will increase early next month.

So with a 1 litre bottle at 50% having half a litre of alcohol, excise will be $42.68. Add $4.27 in GST to arrive at $46.95. A 40% 1 litre bottle has excise of $34.14, so with GST that comes to $37.56.
 
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Ausbt

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Well that clearly explains why wine and champagne are not good DF deals. But the $20 Changi dollars that purchased a $20 bottle of rum last week certainly was a good deal. The other reason to still buy DF is essentially tradition - I generally pick up a bottle for family and friends.
 

glasszon

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I equate duty free shops in AU to be similar to the Qantas FF programme.

For most people, they would go and buy a bottle of Penfolds in the duty free shop, which is similar to redeeming QF points for a Y flight where the tax and surcharge is greater than the cost of a ticket paid in cash.

On the other hand, if you know the prices well and do research beforehand, you can indeed get bargains or travel exclusive bottles where you can't get elsewhere. For example a bottle of Maker's Mark 101 1L is only $50 in Melbourne duty free, it is very cheap (don't forget even if it is for sale in Australia, the alcohol duties alone will be over $40) and you can't get that bottle in Australia outside of duty free shops. But yes, you really have to do your research if you don't want to get ripped off at duty free shops.
 

burmans

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But yes, you really have to do your research if you don't want to get ripped off at duty free shops.
Caveat Emptor. Frankly this is true of buying just about anything but even restricting to alcohol there is a huge amount of variance in prices dependant on where you buy and what you buy, it is always is a good idea to be an informed buyer.
 

Forg

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I suspect some of the DF stuff is about airport prices … there's little in an airport that's not stupidly overpriced, maybe because there's a trapped & bored market and maybe because said market are super fuzzy from spending 24 hours without sleep in dried-out under-pressured noisy tubes.

One example is Glenmorangie (because Highlander), around 15 pounds in a UK supermarket & around 50 pounds in the "duty free" shop airside at Heathrow.

Regarding Dan Murphys; they ain't cheap. They just have heaps to choose from. If they have something on special, any of the other chains probably also have the same thing on special. I used to think Costco was cheap, but realised any of the stuff they have which SEEMS cheap is always on special at Dan Murphys, Liquorland and Porters at the same time ...
 

wandering_fred

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Well to wander in a different direction. I very rarely drink spirits, so a lot of the discussion and interest in DF purchases simply doesn't apply. I do like to sample different varieties of wine however. And I will agree that the local stores in most wine producing countries will have less expensive versions of the local specialties. Alas I find it is not possible to always have a good browse before getting checked in and past immigration. I would suggest the selection of wines in the JNB duty free stores more than makes up for the earlier busy schedule. I haven't managed to head in the direction of Australia from SCL or EZE but suspect the local wine selection in the mentioned airports is far more interesting (better?) than anything to be found here.

Again perhaps too much wandering?
Fred
 

Forg

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Fred, I have no doubt you can get interesting stuff elsewhere … for example, Bin 389 seems to have become a ~$80 bottle here, yet walk into a supermarket in Belgium and "oh look it's €17". I'm sure marketing companies play games like that all over the world & into different markets, so someone alert & interested can probably get some really good bargains compared to what they can usually get.

However … I guess that's playing the marketing game, whereas with spirits there's a massive tax in AU due to the alcohol percentage (same in the UK if my Scottish highlands distillery tour memories are correct) so by avoiding the duty (?and excise?) you should in theory save more on a higher alcomohol-percentage beverage.
 

wandering_fred

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Try to find 20 different bottles of pinotage in Perth (or Sydney) Easy at JNB....
Why would I buy wine produced in Australia other than an online auction in Australia?

Just wandering
Fred
 

Forg

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Have you actually had decent results from online auctions?
That's interesting info. I've not tried them in years, because about half of what I bought from Grey's Online back then was obviously being auctioned because it hadn't been sold for a couple of years & it tasted like it'd been stored in full sun for that couple of years.

However, I wasn't suggesting you buy Australian wine in Europe; I was suggesting that the marketers play silly games with wine all over the world, and that if you were to find 20 different bottles of pinotage in a supermarket in (I dunno) Frankfurt - then assuming the same games played by marketers of Australian wine are played by the marketers of African wine then it might be cheaper there than duty-free at JNB.
Although my use of South Africa as an example is probably a bad one, because everything is very cheap there c/f Australia in the first place ...
[note that I don't know enough about wine to know who makes lots of pinotage - I've guessed southern Africa?]
 

Max Samuels

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essentially spirits have a higher excise or duty due to their higher alcoholic content, so therefore provide the biggest discount / best deal when it comes to 'duty free', hence can be cheaper duty free rather than at Uncle Dan's. Other alcoholic drinks and items not so much where the excise is less or you might just be receiving the GST off (i.e. goods).
Wow.... nanny state at full speed. FFS... when are we going to start standing up to this crap. It's nothing more than a vice tax that probably has its roots in some fundamental christian BS. God I sometimes hate this country :-(
 

harvyk

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Some things DF are good, some things DF are bad. There is certainly an aspect of "airport prices", and we can likely thank the LAG rules for that one.
I usually go for the SoCo 100 Proof, as far as I know you can not get that in Australia (I've looked).

I also think that the DF stores are playing on the fact that there is still an air of luxury around international travel (despite the best efforts of the LCC's).
 

Max Samuels

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So in summary I guess we can say the following about Duty Free in Australia:

1) Duty Free shops are not necessarily (nor even usually) cheaper than retail
2) The tax/duty savings they make as result of being a "Duty Free" store are not wholly passed on to the consumer
3) Although they might stock some rare and collectible items, the vast majority of what they sell is available in retail stores
4) Because of the bizarre way the Australian nanny state calculates duty on spirits, spirits seem to be the only item in a Duty Free store that constantly is cheaper than Australian retail
5) Duty Free stores engage in predatory sales tactics, colluding with airports by forcing the flow of passengers through their stores, and relying on the ignorance of most people assuming that Duty Free is cheaper
6) A quick check on your smartphone before making any kind of purchase is recommended
 

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