PA Vin-sanity?

July 22, 2010

Just another reminder about how good we have it here in VT when it comes to selection in general and the process of buying wine.  Pennsylvania is notorious for being one of the most obstructionist states in the union with regards to the purchase of the vino.  The state of PA acts as the sole distributor, so the only wines that are available are the ones the state identifies, and until recently wine could only be purchased at a “package” store, where spirits are sold as well.  Unlike here, where we have a set of distributors who keep our palates and wallets in mind, and every country store, grocery, and gas station has a wine section…in PA the choices of juice and where to purchase are severely limited.

That was until this great new idea that someone had, so that wine could be sold in grocery stores…a vending machine.
Now I’m all for technology as a route to efficiency, but I have a hard time understanding this one.  Here is how it goes:
You walk up to the machine that is the size of 2 -4 normal home refrigerators, look through the glass and decide if you see something you like (still a subset of the same limited choices, mind you).  If something strikes you right and you’d like to buy it, here is all you have to do.

1).  Swipe your drivers license in the machine.

2). Look into the camera so that someone working back at the liquor board can confirm your identity.

3). Blow into the breathalyzer spout that protrudes from the machine, and score less than .02% (don’t use mouthwash within 20 minutes beforehand)

4). Swipe your credit card.

5). Select your wine, and get it from the machine.

Local folks in PA have shown a positive response to these new machines in the areas where they are being tested…although I have to wonder if a drowning man would appreciate a gulp of air, even if he had to work for it.

The best part…and at only about $100,000 each they are quite a steal.

External Links

NPR: Wine Vending Machines Tested In PA

Scranton Times  - via (AP)


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