How local bars could be affected if bill allowing self-serving alcohol machines is approved

Business

How would you like to belly up to the bar and have a machine pour you a drink? A bill that would make that reality is making some progress in Hartford.

This week the house passed a bill that would allow self-serve beer and wine machines in Connecticut bars and restaurants. 

Some say the machines could have a significant effect on local jobs.

JP Dempey’s is a small town bar where everyone knows everyone. Madi Cheslock has been behind the bar on State Street in New Haven for four years.

“We get a lot of regulars and foot traffic in. It’s really nice to have relationships with them. They know about our families and friends,” Cheslock said.

She’s concerned about her job now that Connecticut is one step closer to allowing machines in bars and restaurants.

Original Story: House of Reps. approves bill allowing self-service alcohol machines in Connecticut

The owner of JP Dempsey’s said ths could put his employees out of work.

“These bartenders mean so much to me and they’re like family. For me to say ‘I have a new box see you later’, that would never happen here,” the owner said.

So how would it work? People over 21 or older would have to show a valid ID and get a payment card from an empoyee. They could then self pour 32 ounces of beer or cider, or 10 ounces of wine. If they want more, they need to reload their payment card.

Loyal customers are skeptical, saying that local bars are a place to develop connections with the staff and that people need jobs and should not be replaced by machines.

Lawmakers in support argue the machines won’t replace people because more employees will be needed to maintain them.

Supporters say having to present an ID will curb underage drinking and limiting the amount poured without a bartender giving the greenlight will cut back on drunk driving.

The Senate will vote on the proposed bill next month. 40 other states have already passed law allowing alcohol machines.

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