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Pennsylvania, Cradle of Liberty

Pennsylvania is so pleased with the success of its wine vending machines that it is expanding the program.

“We really thought there might be a problem with the scissors getting dull if business gets heavy,” said State Liquor Commissioner Rube Goldberg. “If the scissors don’t cut the string so the sandbag can fall into the basket weighing down the scale and causing the feather to tickle the sleeping man’s nose so he lifts his hand and tugs the string that pulls the stuffed glove that pokes the bird who flies up hitting the lever that releases the wine bottle, well, we could have a technical failure. But by hiring teams of sharpeners to travel the state and keep the scissors honed we’ve been able to avoid that. So, as you can see, the program makes perfect sense.”

Yeah, OK, I made that up. It really works like this:

A customer must first scan his driver’s license by inserting it into a slot on the kiosk, then peer into a camera so that an LCB employee working at an office in Harrisburg can determine that the customer is the same person pictured on the license. The customer then blows into a Breathalyzer guarded by a metal screen so that the LCB can verify a blood alcohol level.

Which, at least, doesn’t involve a bird.

Liquor Control Board CEO Joe Conti praised the system, which provides the citizens of Pensylvania access to 0.13% of the wines marketed in the United States.

The things we were most worried about, the technology, is working rather well.

Let freedom ring.


  • John

    What no one is talking about is the lack of choice not only in these machines, but in the state controlled system as a whole. Proponents rally behind convenience, but the selections found in the vending machines are the biggest of brands and have as much character as Gatorade. There are so many value oriented small production wines out there made from actual winemakers and the wine drinking public in PA will never know, unless the Barefoot and Ecco Domini lakes dry up.

  • Mart S. - Grotto Cellars

    Wow! Technology at its finest! Cheers!

  • 1WineDude

    Kill me.