Technology Spotlight: Wine Kiosks

The great state of Pennsylvania has given amateur winos something to look forward to in 2010. The PLCB has slightly loosened its tight grip on alcohol sales within the state by agreeing to set up about 100 wine kiosks in grocery stores throughout Pennsylvania. These kiosks will essentially operate like high-tech vending machines, which will be able to hold up to 500 bottles, and will house roughly 50 different kinds of wine. Customers will be able to purchase wine from these machines, which eliminates the inconvenience of having to drive to the state store; however, strict precautions will be taken to make sure the buyers aren’t underage or intoxicated. Each kiosk will require the buyer to swipe his or her driver’s license to verify that the person is of the legal drinking age; if the person is 21 or older, a built in camera will send the person’s image to the PLCB’s central office in Harrisburg where an employee will verify that the person buying the wine matches the picture on his or her I.D. If the person does not match the ID, or if the credit/debit card used does not match the name on the drivers license (paying in cash will not be an option), then the transaction will be halted. The buyer will also be required to pass a noninvasive and contact free blood alcohol test. Each kiosk will be equipped with a breath sensor that will measure the B.A.L of each buyer, if the person is determined to have a B.A.L of .05 or higher, then the transaction will not be completed. These safety measures are currently being tested by a prototype in Harrisburg. Once that process is finished a few pilot kiosks will appear in select grocery stores in central Pennsylvania; and finally, the PLCB is projecting that the rest of the 100 kiosks will be up and running by this summer.

Here is a list of area grocery stores set to house the kiosks (but keep in mind these locations could change):

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