A breathalyzer just to buy wine

The Pennsylvania government controls not just liquor sales but wine sales too, causing all kinds of inconvenience to consumers. The state is currently trying out a novel approach to making things easier:

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board here will test a self-service, wine-selling kiosk, to see if it can effectively prevent the sale of wine to underage consumers and those who are intoxicated. […]

To purchase wine from the kiosk, a consumer would first insert her driver’s license for age and identity verification. The license barcode will be read, and the picture on the license will be matched with a video image of the consumer standing before the kiosk, Nick Hays, spokesman for the PLCB, told SN.

“The match is confirmed by Liquor Control Board employees, represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, monitoring the transaction from a remote center,” he said.

Sobriety is confirmed by a built in breath sensor. It requires no contact and provides an instant blood-alcohol reading, said Hays. PLCB representatives can lock out purchases by consumers who are intoxicated. Transactions can only be completed with credit card payments.

Hey, that’s really smart! Or they could just, you know, privatize the market and let adults sell wine to each other. But that’s crazy talk.


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