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Retailers Could Host Wine Selling Kiosks in Pennsylvania

Wine sales are a possibility for up to 100 Pennsylvania grocers in 2010.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Wine sales are a possibility for up to 100 Pennsylvania grocers in 2010. Eighteen Wegmans locations; 34 Giant Super Food and Giant Food Stores; and five Weis Markets have been selected by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to house wine selling kiosks that would act as satellite Liquor Control Board stores, according to published reports.

Before definitive plans can be made, the kiosks must undergo efficacy testing. If all goes well, they could be installed as soon as May.

To purchase wine from the kiosk, a consumer would insert his or her driver's license for age and identity verification. It would then "read" the license barcode, and the picture on the license would be matched with a video image of the consumer standing before the machine, according to Nick Hays, spokesman for the PLCB. Transactions will be monitored by PLCB employees from a remote center. Sobriety would be confirmed with a built-in, contact-free breath sensor that would provide an instant blood-alcohol reading.

PLCB representatives could lock out purchases attempted by consumers who are intoxicated or underage, according to the report. Payment would only be made with a credit card. The kiosks could carry up to 500 bottles of as many as 50 wines, and placement within the store will be determined jointly by the PLCB and the retailer, it said.

Pennsylvania is one of 19 states to have some measure of government control over alcohol distribution. The PLCB oversees wine and spirits sales through a network of 619 Wine & Spirits stores. Currently just 19 food retailers are connected to these Wine & Spirits stores.

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