by Abigail Smyth, Student Board Representative

Before telling your wine-loving relatives and friends in the keystone state that they will no longer have to smuggle coveted wine into the state on the back of Amish buggies, confirm that they: 1). have a valid driver’s license; 2). possess a credit card with enough credit to cover the wine, taxes and service fee; 3). are never carded when going-out in case the person behind the camera deems them too youthful looking; and 4). don’t imbibe before shopping to ensure they pass the breathalyzer test.

Self-serve Wine Kiosk

The state of Pennsylvania has introduced two kiosks located in grocery stores near the capital of Harrisburg in a pilot test. If the two kiosks are not defaced and vandalized by those unable to fulfill any of the four requirements listed above, the program will be expanded to 100 stores across the state sometime in late August.

The self-service kiosk features technology to prevent over-served and underage individuals from purchasing wine. A consumer will begin the transaction by inserting their driver’s license into the machine which will verify the buyer’s age by reading the bar code. A remotely located liquor control board employee will use the kiosk camera (a la 1984) to verify that the photograph matches the now thirsty consumer.

Consumers may choose from 53 commonly available wines via a touchscreen; no tasting or sampling is involved. Consumers finish the marathon buying process only after they complete and pass a breathalyzer test. For those concerned about hygiene, the state has adopted best practices, using a breathalyzer that is able to measure sobriety from a distance of up to twelve inches from the panel.

For those concerned about privacy and security, the state retains the transaction for only thirty days and vows not to sell the consumer’s information.

Cheers, Pennsylvania.