Sunday, May 29, 2005

Robot Bartender to Debut in Scotland

Young Scot set for share in millions from robot barman
By Julia Fields

The UK club industry could be transformed by an invention that promises to put an end to tiresome bar queues and at the same time curb the binge-drinking culture.

Glasgow entrepreneur Michael Bowes will this week officially unveil a vending machine that dispenses bottles of beer with an electronic robotic hand.

Bowes, managing director of Bowes Enterprises, has signed a manufacturing deal with Japanese conglomerate Fuji for the Barhand machines. Bowes will have the exclusive rights to sell the product in Europe and elsewhere.

Orders have already been taken from bars and clubs across England and elsewhere in Europe. But the first unit will be installed in one of Glasgow’s largest clubs, The Garage.

Patrick Browne, spokesman for the Scottish Beer and Pub Association, said Bowes Enterprises would have to address a number of crucial issues. He said: “One of the offences in licensing laws is allowing people to sell alcohol to someone who is drunk. How do you stop someone who is drunk from going and using the vending machine again? The other issue is the physical supervision of the sale, again something that is required.”

A survey of 500 people aged 18-50 in Glasgow showed that 75% bought several drinks at the same time when they had to wait in a queue. Bowes is convinced that if these queues are eliminated, punters will buy one drink at a time and pace their consumption .

Young Scot set for share in millions from robot barman - [Sunday Herald]


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