HARRISBURG, Pa. — Two Pennsylvania supermarkets are testing wine kiosks as part of a Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board pilot.
Shoppers at a Mechanicsburg, Pa., Wegmans and the Giant Food Store have access to the kiosks that act as satellite PLCB stores. Pennsylvania is one of 19 states to have some measure of government control over alcohol distribution.
Each kiosk is stocked with wine kept at optimal temperatures and monitored by a PLCB employee from a remote location in real time. Both will operate from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. They will be closed on Sundays and certain holidays.
In order to purchase wine, a buyer must insert their driver's license in the kiosk, where age information on the bar code is processed. The photograph on the license is then matched with a video image of the buyer standing before the kiosk by a PLCB employee. The kiosks have a built-in breathalyzer to ensure the buyer is not under the influence. If a breath alcohol level of .02 or higher is detected, the consumer will be unable to make a purchase. The entire process takes less than 20 seconds, according to the PLCB.
If the pilot is successful the kiosks may be rolled out to 100 Pennsylvania grocery stores.
"While the technology is promising and we're eager to introduce the kiosks across the state, we first need to complete stringent tests during this pilot phase in a controlled environment to make sure it's safe and secure. It will also give us the opportunity to hear consumer feedback in an effort to make the kiosks the most positive experience possible," said PLCB Chairman Patrick Stapleton in a statement.
The PLCB oversees wine and spirits sales through a network of 619 Wine & Spirits stores.