Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wine Kiosk Plan: Store Chain by Store Chain

The state Liquor Control Board is changing its rollout plan for wine kiosks in 100 Pennsylvania grocery stores.
When the LCB began testing kiosks in June, Chairman P.J. Stapleton talked of a late-August rollout, beginning in western Pennsylvania and moving east.
Sales at the two Harrisburg-area grocery stores are doing well, but the kiosks haven’t been introduced anywhere else yet.
LCB spokeswoman Stacey Witalec says it’s not clear when the machines will begin appearing in other locations.

"We had to push our timeline for the rollout back. And again, that is based on those discussions with the supermarkets, but more importantly, safety. We want to make sure that as we get these new kiosks in, that we have enough time, and we feel comfortable in the testing that is being done, before they’re placed out into the supermarket locations."

The rollout plan has been changed, as well. Instead of starting in Western Pennsylvania and moving east, the LCB will introduce the machines on a chain-by-chain basis, across the state. Witalec says officials determined working with one company at a time is more effective than doing a geography-based rollout.
Witalec says Pennsylvania wines will appear in some machines.

"What you’ll find in the kiosk in, say, Allegheny County, could be very different than what you’ll find here in Harrisburg. Because the tastes are a little bit different. We’ll certainly work to incorporate the Pennsylvania wines. And as people want to see more things, new things and different things, we’ll certainly wait to hear from our customers. Because that is how this prototype will definitely become successful across the state."

The machines utilize breathalyzers to check customers’ alcohol levels, and LCB employees double-check IDs through remote cameras before the bottle of wine is dispensed.

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