Beer, from a vending machine. Sounds like a good idea, right? And you aren’t the only person to think that.
Imagine how great it would be if you could skip the crowds at your favorite bar, and get an ice-cold can with just the press of a button.
Beer vending machines aren’t hugely common, but they do exist.
Fairly popular in Japan, the beer vending machine is gradually spreading across the US. You might even see one the next time you head out to a big game.
Dreaming of a world where you can grab a beer from a vending machine? Take a look at this guide to find out more.
Are There Beer Vending Machines?
Yes, there are beer vending machines, although they aren’t incredibly common — yet!
The first vending machine was introduced at the end of the 19th Century, so it’s really no surprise that someone eventually thought of adding beer. The only real surprise is that they aren’t more common.
Beer vending machines do seem like an easy solution to the problem of crowded bars.
Instead of trying to catch the eye of a busy bartender, you simply head across to the vending machine, and grab a drink.
So, what’s holding the beer vending machine back?
Why Aren’t They Everywhere?
Initially, the beer vending machine sounds like an excellent idea with absolutely no flaws. With a beer vending machine, you could get access to your favorite drink, hassle-free!
So, why aren’t beer vending machines particularly common?
Of course, there is one big issue with the beer vending machine: vending machines generally can’t ask to see your ID.
This very much limits the use of the beer vending machine, and explains why they’ll probably never be as common as the standard vending machine.
Some clever manufacturers have found a way around this. Vending machines can now be built with scanners, to check you have identification.
Others require you to purchase tokens, which would only be sold to those over 21, And some go for a low-tech solution: someone stands nearby, and IDs anyone who looks underage.
But there are other things holding the beer vending machine back. Many venues have open container rules, which means cans have to be cracked open before they’re served.
The standard vending machine can’t do that, although advancing technologies are making this dream a reality.
And in places with licensing hours, prohibiting the sale of alcohol at certain times, the beer vending machine would have to be out of service for much of the day.
Again, technology is making this easier than ever. Some beer vending machines are fitted to stop service when the clock tells it to.
Finally, some states actually have laws in place to prevent selling alcohol from a vending machine.
However, as the beer vending machine becomes more popular, and smarter, these laws might change.
Are Beer Vending Machines Legal In The US?
Alcohol vending machines are legal in many US states, although some places do have laws prohibiting them.
It’s a bit of an odd issue, and the laws are likely to change over the years as technology advances, and vending machines become smarter.
Even if the state does allow beer vending machines, existing alcohol laws do make their establishment tricky.
Those using the machine must be over 21, and anyone setting up a machine must have a valid liquor license.
Where Can I Find Beer Vending Machines?
Intrigued by the beer vending machine? Aren’t we all! While you might not stumble across one in the wild, there are places where you’re more likely to run into a beer vending machine.
When it comes to the vending machine, Japan is ahead of the field.
Rumor has it that you can get almost anything from a vending machine in Japan, and that does include beer.
They aren’t on every street corner, but they are relatively common. And it isn’t just beer. You can find a range of cocktails, and even sake, dispensed from a vending machine.
Japanese beer vending machines often use scanners to check the ID of whoever might be buying, but others do require a special card.
Stadiums And Venues
If you’ve ever found yourself missing half of a football game because you got stuck in the queue for a beer, you probably think the beer vending machine is an ingenious idea.
Stadiums, sports venues, and concert halls are one of the major targets for the beer vending machine.
These vending machines could be an easy way to cut queues for those who just want to grab a can before heading back to their seat.
Beer vending machines might be on their way to a bar near you!
They can be used to cut queues, taking the pressure off bartenders who can then deal with complex mixed drinks.
While other settings might require a technological age verification mechanism, bars can keep the beer vending machine simple.
If all the patrons are ID’d at the door, then there’s no need for the beer vending machine to check.
Customers can get their drinks quickly, while security do the usual checks to ensure everything is up to standard.
Around The World…Potentially
Beer vending machines are yet to become common anywhere in the world, apart from Japan, but they have popped up in various places around the globe.
So, keep an eye out for them the next time you go on vacation.
Alcohol vending machines have been spotted in both Scotland and Israel, while Belgium is rumored to have a vending machine stacked with beers by the case.
The beer vending machine sounds like a really good idea, but, for the moment, they’re still something of a novelty.
A beer vending machine can potentially cut queues, but they need sophisticated technology to work properly (and legally).
Although beer vending machines can be found in bars and venues across the US, and around the world, we’re still waiting for the technology to catch up with the idea. But if you do see one, give it a go!