Having grown up in Pennsylvania, I always assumed you could only buy beer at a bar, restaurant or beer distributor and that wine and liquor had to be purchased at “state stores.” So it comes as a bit of a surprise to this kid from the Philly burbs that PA recently became the first state to begin selling wine out of large in-store “kiosks.”
For the moment, the kiosks are only in two Pennsylvania grocery stores. But the Liquor Control Board will expand that to around 100 more if these prove successful.
The process for buying wine isn’t completely automated. After the customer swipes their license and blows into an alcohol sensor, they have to look into a camera so that their identity can be verified remotely by a state employee. The whole process takes about 20 seconds.
While shoppers are snapping up the wines, the president and founder of The Wine School of Philadelphia isn’t a fan of the Big Brother-ish purchasing system:
The process is cumbersome and assumes the worst in Pennsylvania’s wine consumers – that we are a bunch of conniving underage drunks… (Liquor board) members are clearly detached from reality if they think these machines offer any value to the consumer.
Simple Brands, the company that makes the kiosks, says the target market here isn’t wine snobs or oenophiles. “They were developed for the average consumer who wants a nice bottle of wine with their steak and seafood,” explains the company’s president.
Pennsylvania launches wine vending machines [NY Daily News]