Wine Vending Machines Are the Reason You've Been Saving All That Loose Change

Illustration for article titled Wine Vending Machines Are the Reason You've Been Saving All That Loose Change

Due to longstanding and elaborate liquor laws, it is not particularly easy to buy booze in Pennsylvania. But now the state's trying to make it a little bit easier—with ID-swiping, breathalyzer-sporting wine bottle vending machines.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board recently introduced the hulking kiosks in two grocery stores as part of a pilot program, hoping to alleviate some of the headaches that come with buying booze in the state. But what exactly does buying wine from a machine entail? AP explains:

The machines are about the size of four large refrigerators, though the wines are kept at room temperature. An ATM-type device sits at one end.

A customer chooses a wine on a touch-screen display, swipes an ID, blows into an alcohol sensor (no contact with the machine is required) and looks into a surveillance camera. A state employee in Harrisburg remotely approves the sale after verifying the buyer matches the photo ID.

State officials say the process takes 20 seconds. The kiosks only take credit or debit cards, and they're closed on Sundays and holidays. A "convenience fee" of $1 would be added after the pilot phase


Sounds simple enough, though some store owners are concerned that the machines bring a Big Brother element to the process of buying a bottle. That, and you have to wonder how easy these things will really be, once the machine's beep beep beeping at you to swipe and smile and blow and make your selection all at the same time. As someone who's still figuring out that whole self-checkout thing, this all seems a bit much. [Yahoo! via Gawker]

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That just seems overly draconian and silly. I don't know if I could deal with that without getting really frustrated every time.

When I moved from College Station, TX to Dallas, TX, I was rather confused by the odd alcohol laws up here. Like in Allen, all the liquor stores can only be located in a certain part of town. The gas station across the street from me isn't allowed to sell beer because it's technically in Carrollton (I think), but the gas station next door does sell beer bc its in Dallas. I just want to conveniently buy my alcohol. It's hard coming from a town which has one of the highest proportions of bars and liquor stores per capita for our state.