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The Future of Binge-Drinking: Self-Serve Bar Taps

Author: Justin Mckibben

Before I have written about how I believe than Americans may be greatly underestimating the dangers of alcohol abuse and alcoholism, and the very real threat that excessive use of alcohol can lead to a demoralize disease with lethal results.  In some ways this is understandable given the fact that the opiate epidemic has been in the forefront of the media, along with the menace of synthetic drugs that are being sold over the counter, but there is still a need for people to recognize how society is consistently creating technology to enable alcoholic behavior and alcohol abuse.

There are already smartphone apps and other inventions now that enable people to drink excessively with the excuse that they have these options in place to keep them out of trouble, and now a new trend that is starting up is by-passing the bar-tender and putting the power to over-indulge directly in the hands of the individual.

The Beginning of PourMyBeer

Introducing PourMyBeer, a self-service beer tap that is quickly and justifiably attaining some popularity. This original idea for this was conceived by 36-year-old Josh Goodman, who after stepping into a crowded sports bar in 2008, was struck with inspiration. Goodman said,

“I was hanging out with my friends at a Baltimore sports bar before an Orioles game. We just couldn’t get another beer served to us quickly.”

Goodman’s moment of clarity came when he thought to himself that not only would bar clienteles be happier, but bars would also draw a much larger profit if the customers themselves had the ability to pour and serve their own drinks. Obviously this logic makes sense. Customers won’t have to communicate with bar-tenders, they can just keep refilling, and the establishments will just rack up the cash while their patrons get demolished. How very considerate of them, right?

A few months later after cultivating the idea, Goodman invested $20,000 of his own funds and partnered with a U.S. manufacturer to launch PourMyBeer , making beer tables with two to four self-service taps, and in 2009 his innovative company provided its first table with self-our beer taps to a tavern in the Baltimore area. But it did not stop the evolution there, and in 2011 PourMyBeer introduced self-service “beer walls,” which let people self-pour their beverages from wall-mounted taps.

Since that first table the market has expanded, and PourMyBeer has spread its influence by providing services to around 200 restaurants and bars covering 28 states and Canada.

Problems with Self-Service

Now some legal questions arise, especially concerning the fact that drinking establishments using the self-pour tap system absolutely must be verly-cautious about underage drinkers. There are reportedly some safeguards to the PourMyBeer system, one of which that has been used is the requirement of a RFID-enabled wristband or card for access. So without one of these cards, a minor would not be able to use the taps. Goodman has explained,

“It’s controlled access. The units give 32 ounces, or two glasses of beer per person at a time.”

While that can be a good indication that there are some restrictions to using these devices in place, is it still going to cause a problem with binge-drinking? Seriously, if there is this constant access to alcohol, and you can throw more and more money into it without having to worry about paying a server, or even talking to one, how likely it is that excessive drinking and even alcohol abuse isn’t going to become more of a norm?

Giving someone with an alcohol problem an ever-flowing source of beer is taking a huge risk, and for some probably seems a little irresponsible. Then again, whether it is a human being, a self-serve tap or a robot bar-tender like a scifi movie, the system cannot be perfect, and an alcoholic will always find a way to drink, I know I did.

Good or bad, the trend is definitely getting traction. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is actually rolling out self-serve taps for people in-between flights, and further examples are sure to start showing up later this year in Italy and Brazil.

So far these devices don’t offer much for those who have a taste more for wine or hard liquor, but this self-service beer system doesn’t ask for a tip either. These may be a major convenience to those who can drink successfully, but for those of us who drink recklessly the self-service system of PourMyBeer is just another way for us to take advantage of any way to catch a buzz.

Putting beer within arm’s length at all times for an alcoholic is risky, and not taking alcohol seriously enough to realize the risks we run from excessive drinking is even worse. People die every day from alcohol abuse, whether it be from drunk driving, alcohol poisoning or health problems caused by drinking. But there is a way out. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

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