The Coming of the Self-Serve Beer Machine

On Sunday, the first self-service beer station made its debut at Target Field in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Twins may have lost to the New York Yankees, but the franchise made beer history.

Target Field hopes to have another one of these things up and running for the All Star Game next week. Curiously, the new beer dispensing technology doesn’t eliminate the need for manpower.

USA Today provides a step-by-step guide to using one:

“A patron goes to a concession cashier, shows proper identification to verify age and buys a vending card with either $10 or $20 on it for use at the station. … There are four beers to choose from, and they can be bought by the ounce: Bud and Bud Light (38 cents per ounce), and Shock Top Lemon Shandy and Goose Island 312 Urban Pale Ale (40 cents per ounce). … There is an employee at each machine to not only check identification but also to intercede should a patron appear intoxicated.”

But if you still need to have employees sell people cards and prevent excessive withdrawals, what’s the point? Jerry Jacob Jr., owner of Delaware North, whose Sportservice operates concessions at 10 baseball stadiums, gave the following explanation to ESPN: “It’s a way to engage with the customer and allows the fan to have greater control of what they’re drinking.”

Of course, you may also want more of a selection. These are all Anheuser-Busch InBev beers. One step at a time, though.

For those who drink too much and need to sober up, Delaware North will soon offer a new menu item, a hangover Burger, which features two hamburger patties with bacon, American cheese, and a fried egg with mayo, ketchup, and sriracha. Maybe if you eat one or two of those, the guys who guard the machine will let you use your card again. Just a suggestion.

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