HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board here will test a self-service, wine-selling kiosk, to see if it can effectively prevent the sale of wine to underage consumers and those who are intoxicated.
If the initial review, and a pilot to gauge consumer reaction are successful, the kiosks will be placed in up to 100 grocery stores in Pennsylvania, which is one of 19 states to have some measure of government control over alcohol distribution. Simple Brands, Conshohocken, Pa., is the kiosk provider.
To purchase wine from the kiosk, a consumer would first insert her driver’s license for age and identity verification. The license barcode will be read, and the picture on the license will be matched with a video image of the consumer standing before the kiosk, Nick Hays, spokesman for the PLCB, told SN.
“The match is confirmed by Liquor Control Board employees, represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, monitoring the transaction from a remote center,” he said.
Sobriety is confirmed by a built in breath sensor. It requires no contact and provides an instant blood-alcohol reading, said Hays. PLCB representatives can lock out purchases by consumers who are intoxicated. Transactions can only be completed with credit card payments.
“The entire process will take less than 20 seconds,” said Hays.
The PLCB oversees the retail distribution of wine and spirits in the state through a network of 619 state-run Wine & Spirits stores.
A change in the state law several years ago allowed the connection of brick-and-mortar Wine & Spirits stores to supermarkets. The PLCB operates 19 of these shops across Pennsylvania. It’s hopeful the kiosks would bring one stop shopping to more consumers.
“Kiosks will boost consumer convenience and allow the Liquor Control Board to better serve some areas of the state where there is a significant distance between Wine & Spirits stores,” said Hays.
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