Patrons of bars and businesses with proper alcohol licenses would be able to grab a cocktail or beer from an automatic dispensing machine — much like a soft drink — if the legislature passes legislation offered by a Laredo lawmaker.
Texas is actually one of the few states that do not allow these self-serving machines used in bars and casinos in New York, Ohio, Florida and Louisiana, according to James Nicol, CEO of Easybar, the company that has sold more than 400 liquor service stations.
States such as California and Nevada, which have strong service unions, have been opposed to the self-serve machines.
“It sounds like Texas has been the same way,” Nicol said. “Legislation could open that up, and there’s definitely going to be an opportunity there.”
Rep. Richard Peña Raymond, D-Laredo, filed House Bill 2118, which would give businesses that are authorized to sell alcoholic beverages the option to use an automated machine to dispense their drinks.
According to the bill, only those who are 21 years of age or older with a credit card that matches the name on their drivers license may use the machines. But some people question how the machines would be monitored.
At Rice, in one of the residential colleges, there was for years a soda machine that would randomly dispense a beer. It was a student’s job to keep the machine stocked, so you can see how this might happen, and once it did it of course became a tradition. I rather doubt it still exists today, as the regulatory environment we live in these days would not tolerate it, but it’s a fun memory from The Good Old Days. I don’t have a point to that story, it just seemed like as good a time as any to tell it. As far as HB2118 goes, I’m mostly curious as to where one might be likely to find a beer-dispensing machine. I totally understand why a bar that doesn’t have a kitchen might want to have a snack-vending machine on premises. I’m a little unclear as to why a bar that has, you know, a bar, might want one of these. Texas also doesn’t have casinos, so that’s one less potential customer. Has anyone ever encountered one of these things? I’m genuinely puzzled about where and why they would exist.