HARTFORD, Conn. (CBS Connecticut) – On Wednesday, a proposal for businesses with state liquor permits to offer automated machines which dispense beer and wine to customers passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 129-19.

While the proposal passed by a considerable margin, concerns were voiced regarding both a potential loss of jobs for bartenders, and liability in terms of issues such as underage drinking and drunk driving.  Old Lyme Representative Devin Carney voted against the proposal, and cited both potential issues.  “I do have concerns related to folks being able to pour their own alcoholic beverages, especially since we do have a lot of instances of driving under the influence. I think an employee, a bartender is that person that can step in if somebody has had too much to drink,” he said Wednesday.

“We’re concerned about further automation taking away jobs,” Carney added.  “Bartenders and wait staff, they’re really good jobs, especially for folks who need a second income.”

But supporters had answers for both hypotheticals, as Danbury Representative Robert Godfrey stated: “The claim was made that 43 other states already do this, which tells me that it’s not a problem for law enforcement, or anyone else for that matter, in making sure that underage drinkers don’t have access, and where inebriated drinkers don’t have access.”

Representative David Arconti focused on the potential this technology could offer the growing craft beer and microbrewery industry in Connecticut.  “With many new and successful breweries opening over the last few years, self-pouring technology helps to support this growing industry of craft beer in our state,” he said.

The bill now awaits action in the Senate.


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