Press Releases

May 6, 2015

HMSHost Opens Whisky River, Serving up Southern Hospitality—Earnhardt-Style—at Charlotte Douglas International Airport

HMSHost opens Whisky River restaurant on E-Concourse

Photo, from left to right: Derryl Benton, Executive Vice President of Business Development, HMSHost; Dale Earnhardt Jr.; Jack Christine, Deputy Aviation Director, Charlotte Douglas International Airport; Larry Jenkins, Vice President of Operations, HMSHost. Photo credit: HHP Photo/Harold Hinson

CHARLOTTE, NC — Whisky River now has a new airside rendition of the original uptown Charlotte location, in Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s E-Concourse. Today representatives of global restaurateur HMSHost, the airport, and 12-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrated with a grand opening and ribbon cutting festivities. Since no Whisky River party would be complete without live music, rising country music singer/songwriter Lauren Jenkins put on a show on Whisky River’s stage for event guests and travelers to enjoy.

Image of the whisky river logo

[Dale Earnhardt Jr's Whisky River] “We’ve enjoyed a lot of success with our Whisky River location in Uptown Charlotte. When we were first approached about this opportunity, it felt like a natural fit and the enthusiasm from HMSHost gave us the confidence that this would work,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr. “Charlotte is home for us, and this location provides us the opportunity to give travelers passing through a little taste of our city. As well as, reach a new audience that may not be familiar with the Whisky River brand.”

For years, Whisky River has been a favorite place for North Carolina fun-seekers to hang out and enjoy great food, music, and drinks. It’s a place where you might run into an old friend or maybe meet a new one, and this same vibe and down-to-earth sense of place is now something travelers will have a chance to appreciate. Similar conduits for fun that have shaped the original location’s legendary reputation can be found in the airport as well; from the rustic décor and ambiance complete with a model bull, and the stage which will feature live performances on a regular basis.

“Charlotte Douglas is thrilled be the home of Whisky River and we look forward to a new successful partnership with Dale Earnhardt Jr,” said Charlotte Douglas International Airport Interim Aviation Director Brent Cagle. “We have over 120,000 passengers coming through our terminal every day and it’s great to be able to offer this excellent local venue to our customers. Whisky River will certainly be a popular destination within our terminal.”

“Whisky River is a local icon and we could not be more thrilled about partnering with Dale Jr. and his team, as well as the Charlotte Airport to bring travelers this unique experience,” said HMSHost Vice President of Business Development Stephen Douglas. “Whisky River has a way of conjuring good times, and we are excited to be sharing those with travelers now, in Concourse E.”

Some of Whisky River’s menu highlights include appetizers like the house made Whisky River chili; Whisky Wings with a variety of flavors including Dale’s signature BBQ sauce and Texas tequila BBQ; ‘dirty’ tots made with pulled pork, chipotle queso, green onion, and Dale’s signature BBQ sauce; and crispy fried pickles made from breaded spicy pickles and served with buttermilk ranch. A selection of burgers and sandwiches is available too, the favorite being the Carolina Q Burger, which is topped with Carolina slow roasted pork, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, and dill pickles. Entrees include smothered chicken, seared Atlantic salmon, and BBQ brisket. For travelers looking to relax with a beverage, cocktails like the Moonshine Mule made with Midnight Moon Original Moonshine, ginger beer, and lime juice are sure to quench thirsty guests.


Global restaurateur HMSHost is a world leader in creating dining for travel venues. HMSHost operates in more than 100 airports around the globe, including the 20 busiest airports in North America. The Company has annual sales in excess of $2.7 billion and employs more than 33,000 sales associates worldwide. HMSHost is a part of Autogrill Group, the world’s leading provider of food & beverage services for people on the move. With sales of around €3.9 billion in 2014, the Group operates in 29 countries and employs some 54,000 people. It manages approximately 2,800 stores in over 1,000 locations worldwide. Visit for more information. We can also be found on Facebook at and on Twitter at @HMSHost.

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