HARRISBURG, Pa. — Wal-Mart locations are among the homes the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is considering for 70 additional wine kiosks that will act as PLCB satellite stores, with PLCB employees monitoring transactions remotely.
Currently in about 30 stores including 10 Wegmans Food Markets, and Giant Eagle, Shop ‘n Save, the Fresh Grocer and Giant Food Stores, the 18-foot-wide and 10-foot-tall kiosks feature wines priced from $5.99 to $29.99.
Since the PLCB oversees retail distribution of wine and spirits in the state, it controls wine selections and collects all proceeds from the kiosks. Many retailers are vying for the new machines, said Stacy Kriedeman, spokeswoman for the PLCB, but the board is being selective.
“One of the things we look at is foot traffic when determining the best locations,” she told SN.
Four of the 70 kiosks are already earmarked for Wegmans stores, meaning that all 14 of its Pennsylvania locations will be equipped with kiosks. It benefits by drawing additional traffic to its stores.
“The most common comment we receive is that it’s convenient to be able to purchase wine in the grocery store while they are planning their meals,” Wegmans’ Mechanicsburg store manager Bob Finn told SN in August.
To purchase wine, a consumer must insert her driver's license into the kiosk for age and identity verification. It then “reads” the license barcode and the picture on the license is matched with a video image of the consumer standing before the machine.
Sobriety is confirmed with a built-in breath sensor, which provides an instant blood-alcohol reading and requires no contact. PLCB representatives can lock out purchases attempted by consumers who are intoxicated or underage. Payment can only be made with a credit card.
The number of employees dedicated to monitoring the machines will grow along with the kiosks, Kriedeman said.