Law enforcement officials in Washington D.C. have found a vending machine that was selling malt liquor disguised as a regular soda vending machine.
The machines were discovered in the Trinidad section of D.C., which is 15 minutes from The White House. D.C. blogger and writer for The District Curmudgeon Geoffrey Hatchard tweeted notes from the Trinidad Neighborhood Association meeting from Tuesday night.
According to the police officer at the meeting, the beer machines were in place in the neighborhood for a few months but were recently shut down. There have been inquiries directed at the supplier about how the switch was made but no one has stepped forward to take responsibility.
"The Pepsi machine was in front of a 4-unit apartment and of course no one claimed responsibility for it. It charged three dollars for the malt liquor so kids were buying it [cheaper for adults to get it at the store]," said Daniella Bays, the president of Trinidad Neighborhood Association.
In 2002, the town of Clifton, Va introduced a alcohol vending machine in the town's meeting hall. That did not last very long. But beer is sold in many vending machines in Japan so why not America also.
According to the Automatic Merchandiser's 2010 State of the Vending Industry Report, the vending machine industry took a hit starting in 2008 when it was reported to have lost $2 billion in the year. Since that year, vending machines have gone more high-tech and are much more secure with machines having tamper-proof doors. Some companies have machines hooked up to computers to let companies know when it's time to fill the machine and if the machine is being opened or picked after hours.
In Harrisburg, Penn., they introduced wine-kiosks machines where customers could swipe their driver's license and if it is a legit ID, you could pick from hundreds of bottles of your favorite wine. The state Liquor Control Board could place a more high-tech alcohol wine vending machines in 100 hundred locations around Pennsylvania.
If done right, alcohol vending machines could help the vending machine industry and maybe local government with taxes that could be charged on the beverages. But it has to be monitored and not just placed on a street where kids can buy it. It must be controlled.