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Is Self-Serve Alcohol The Future For Drinking At Restaurants?

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If you’re anything like me, when you hear the words ‘self-serve alcohol’ your first thought is “yes, please!” Don’t get too excited just yet. 

Beer vending machines are currently illegal in the state of Iowa. But, business owners can apply for a waiver which would allow them to install self-serve beer machines. The decision on the application for a waiver comes from the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division. So far, three businesses in the state have been approved, with a fourth waiver pending for a new restaurant set to open in downtown Iowa City.

So how do the self-serve machines work?

A server will confirm that you’re at least 21 and give you a wristband with a bar code scanner on it. The wristband comes loaded with 32 ounces of beer, and in some cases you have to load your own money. From there it’s pretty self-explanatory — you go and pour your own beer. If you want more beer after you’ve poured your two pints, you have to check back in with your server. This way he or she can make sure you haven’t over-indulged before loading your wristband with another 32 ounces.

So what’s the benefit?

This self-serve alcohol equipment distributor tells restaurant and bar owners that these machines will prevent their staff from being harassed by patrons waving dollars bills and whistling at them. The supposed advantage for the customer is that you’ll receive better service since waitstaff won’t be bogged down with the trivial task of pouring a beer. You’ll also be able to refill your glass at your leisure — every other beer.

So, what’s the point? It seems like you have to jump through more hoops to get your own beer than to just order another from the waitress. Isn’t being waited on part of the appeal of going out anyway?

It seems to me that, “I’ll take a Bud Light, please,” is actually easier than self-serve alcohol after all.  Am I missing the appeal of getting your own beer at a restaurant? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

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