Pennsylvania's Wine Kiosk Program Takes a Break

Wine vending machines are temporarily shut down due to technical failures.

(Photo: flickr/liz west/CC4.0)


Throughout the past six months, wine kiosks (which are essentially more formal sounding vending machines) have been popping up in Pennsylvania supermarkets. According to state law, wine cannot be sold in supermarkets, but it can be sold out of third party operated machines located within the supermarkets.

Tuesday night, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the organization behind the kiosk program, pulled the plug on the machines in the 30 grocery stores where they'd been installed across the state. Why?  "Mechanical problems." Maybe the holiday demand was too much to handle. LCB announced their hopes to have the whole lot up and running in early 2011.

The wine purchasing process is far from simple. First a customer has to swipe a state driver’s license, next they have to look into a camera monitored by an LCB official. Once the official clears them, the customer must blow into a breathalyzer. After passing the sobriety test all that’s left is to pick from the selection of wines (complete with tasting notes for each option) and pay.


With supermarkets as chaotic as they are during the holidays, it’s no wonder why this cumbersome system is in desperate need of repair. It looks Christmas has come two days early for local liquor stores throughout Pennsylvania.