Bohemia's storied brewing history --which includes Good King Wenceslas and the beginning of the Thirty Years War--continues, as its most famous beer strives to be available at the drop of a coin:
Legally, beer may not be sold to anyone under 18. But in 2005 two Czech businessmen, Karel Stibor and David Polnar, began the quest for a solution that would enable legal beer sales without any labor cost.
“When walking on the street, you’re surrounded by various vending machines,” Polnar explains. “But there were none selling such a typical thing here as beer.”
Compelled to fill that niche, he and Stibor began researching what was needed to launch their vision of beer vending machines.
....In mid-March, the team, together with Pilsner Urquell brewery, announced the smart beer vending machine.
“We’ve developed a special reading device that can scan buyers’ IDs and passports, in order to determine their age,” Stibor explains. “If a buyer is under 18, coins inserted in the machine’s slot are returned and the machine does not dispense the beer can.”
....Pilsner Urquell’s corporate brand manager, Vladimír Jurina, says the brewery supported the new technology because it’s a boon for beer sales.
“Retailers are interested because this machine will enable 24-hour sales without the need to employ sales attendants,” Jurina said.