Vending machine to aid responsible retailing, says maker

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A vending machine for bottled beers and RTDs aimed at pubs, bars and nightclubs is being launched by a young entrepreneur.Michael Bowes, a...

A vending machine for bottled beers and RTDs aimed at pubs, bars and nightclubs is being launched by a young entrepreneur.

Michael Bowes, a 23-year-old from Glasgow, is the man behind BarHand - a "robotic" vending machine which aims to relieve the pressure on busy barstaff.

BoozeBox, a similar vending machine, was launched in March and received criticism on from licensees concerned that it would encourage irresponsible and underage drinking.

However, Mr Bowes says the machines will actually encourage a more responsible attitude. "We are actually working with the police and licensing boards with this innovation and we want to help curb the problem of irresponsible drinking," he said.

"These machines will alleviate the problems with queues and multiple buying.

"When people are waiting for 30 minutes in a queue they will buy four drinks where they would have bought two. So this technology will encourage people to pace themselves more."

The vending machines can be equipped with an age encoder, deactivated by a card bought on the premises, to prevent underage drinkers using the machine, although Mr Bowes admitted that this encoder system would be impractical for bars.

However, he insisted the machines would still be fit for use in bars and clubs.

"In nightclubs and bars where you have doorstaff monitoring entry you already have a means of stopping underage drinkers. And for those that don't, the bar should be able to afford a door supervisor to monitor the machines," Mr Bowes said.

"They will alleviate queues and are six times cheaper than a bartender so providing adequate security is affordable. Additionally, we will only sell the machines to responsible outlets."

Each BarHand machine holds around 300 bottles, can hold most shapes of glass and plastic bottles and can also stock over 30 different brands of drink at any one time.

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