Supermarket wine kiosks return to Pennsylvania retailers

BEAVER, Pa. — Supermarket wine kiosks are being reintroduced into the Pennsylvania market in the coming week after being taken offline in the days before Christmas, according to a report published Monday in the Beaver County Times, a newspaper based in Beaver County and northwest of Pittsburgh.

Currently, wine only can be sold through a state store or winery in Pennsylvania, though some wineries have shops set up within grocers. All other retailers were prohibited from selling wine, beer or other liquors until the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board introduced the wine kiosks. The PLCB took the grocery-store wine kiosks out of service on Dec. 21, 2010, because of technical glitches. Approximately 6-of-the-30 kiosks will be returned to service, a PLCB representative told the paper.

Pennsylvania first began testing the kiosks in Harrisburg, Pa., in June 2010 and announced a planned rollout of 100 kiosks four months later. Developed by Simple Brands of Conshohocken, Pa., the kiosks feature technology to assure full compliance with the PLCB's strict measures to prevent sales to underaged or intoxicated persons. The buyer's photo identification is inserted into the kiosk, where age information on the bar code is processed. The photograph on the ID is matched with a video image of the buyer at the kiosk. A Liquor Control Board employee monitors each transaction from a remote location and confirms that the video of the purchaser matches the person's driver's license ID.

The kiosks have a built-in breath test that requires no contact with the device and provides an instant reading to ensure the buyer is not under the influence. If a breath alcohol level of .02 or higher is detected, the consumer will not be able to make a purchase.

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