Pa. closes faulty wine kiosks for fine-tuning
December 22, 2010By Scott Detrow
There's a slight problem with some of the 30 wine kiosks at Giants, Wegmans, Giant Eagles and two other supermarket chains throughout the state: They aren't dispensing wine.
Pennsylvania's Liquor Control Board has taken the kiosks offline in order to fix the problem. LCB spokeswoman Stacy Kriedeman explained several different snags have come up in recent weeks, keeping people from accessing the bottles they purchased. "That may be because a turnstile doesn't turn, the door doesn't unlock, the computer screen freezes up. It could be any one of those issues, but it has to do with people not getting the product," she said.
The kiosks will likely be offline through New Year's Day. The LCB aims to open 100 machines throughout the state, but won't introduce any more until the problem is fixed. Initially, all the machines were supposed to be rolled out by now, but the process has been delayed.
Consumers need to take a Breathalyzer test and have their ID verified by an LCB employee at a remote location in order to purchase wine from the machines.
Kriedeman said the LCB apologizes for the problem.
We "would like to ask our supermarket partners, as well as consumers, to be patient," she said. "Whenever there's new technology, you can expect there may be issues. And that was the case here. But Simple Brands is working to address those issues. And as soon as they're fixed, we will bring the kiosks back online."
The problem comes at a bad time for the LCB – the agency is in the cross-hairs of Republicans who take control of Harrisburg next month. Gov.-elect Tom Corbett and top House and Senate leaders want to move quickly to privatize state-owned liquor stores. If the state stores are sold off, the kiosks will likely go extinct, too.