Friday, April 20, 2007


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, VladimĂ­r 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.

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