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    Wine vending machines launch in the US


    by ODN


    Pennsylvania is hoping to breathe life into its state-controlled wine sales with self-serve wine kiosks being tested in supermarkets.

    Officials say early adoption so-far has been better than expected, thanks to the convenient location.

    Jim Lesser, the CEO of kiosk maker Simple Brands, said placing the vending machines in supermarkets seemed like a natural idea as consumers become more attuned to self service.

    "Self check out now accounts for approximately 35 percent of the checkouts at Supermarkets and Home Depots and Costcos and BJS, you can now buy iPods and hi-tech gadgets in vending machines at airports. You can now get your tickets at self-service checkouts. And self service has just really become more popular," said Lesser.

    In the US, the legal drinking age is 21 years old. Pennsylvania is the first state to try using the vending machines. State liquor laws only allow for alcohol to be sold at state-owned liquor stores, so the vending machines are a new way to provide convenience to consumers.

    The machines require customers to insert a US drivers license or state ID into the machine. A high-definition camera captures the person's image, which is verified by remote at a State processing centre to prevent underage drinking. Then, customers must blow into a breathaliser device to ensure that they are not intoxicated. The whole process lasts about three minutes.

    The large refrigerated machines hold about 700 bottles of wine. There is an informational board nearby that details the variety and brands of wine and lists the details of each particular bottle including origin, body and food pairing suggestions.