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RFID Pours Beer at Shopping Market

Lynn Street Market, a corner grocery in Danville, Va., opened this month with a 12-tap beer wall that allows shoppers to pour their own drink by tapping an RFID card against the wall's readers to control and pay for their pour into a glass or growler.
By Claire Swedberg
Tags: Retail

After the consumer completes each pour, the software stores the cost and deducts the cost of all drinks from that user's credit card account at the end of the visit. "One thing that is a huge differentiator is the fact that the customers are in the rider's seat when it comes to how much they are spending," Rulkova says. "As they pour, they are seeing how many cents or dollars they are spending."

The system limits consumers to only two drinks at a time: a 5- to 7-ounce glass of wine, or a 10- to 16-ounce beer. Once someone reaches that limit, he or she must approach a sales representative onsite, who can then reauthorize that individual's card to access up to two more servings, if appropriate. Because the consumer pours his or her own drink, there is sometimes a tendency to pour more than would be provided at a traditional bar. A customer can pour a sample-size beer but still pay for that drink. Users tend to pour more carefully, Rulkova says, since they are charged for each ounce. In fact, she adds, the PourMyBeer system typically limits waste to 1 percent, while beer waste at standard bars can be as much as 25 percent.

The beer wall is expected to save time for customers, since they can simply select and pour beer rather than place an order that must then be filled by a bartender. It will include both regional and national or international brands, DelGiorno says, and will serve as a differentiator for the market. Customers were already anticipating the new store and its services before it opened, he says.

Lynn Street Market is one of a handful of markets around North America that offer self-serve beer walls (see RFID Brews Up Valuable Beer Data for Restaurant, RFID Users Help Themselves With Beer Server, Understanding Beer Drinkers, One RFID-Enabled Pour at a Time and RFID Lets Customers Self-Serve Craft Beers).

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