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Nova Scotia might soon have alcohol vending machines

Corey Yantha, a native of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, is launching SmartServ, a vending machine to dispense beer and ready-made alcoholic drinks (with caution and hard limits on total consumption). The vending machines deploy technology that authenticates a person by scanning a photo ID combined with facial recognition.

To ensure that only legal drinking age consumers can purchase alcohol from vending machines, the machines only service after scanning a government-issued ID. Additionally, a facial scan is completed to verify that the picture on the ID matches the consumer’s face.

Yantha, the founder and CEO of Dispension Industries Inc., leads a team of 10 and collaborates with an engineering firm in Markham, Ontario. The target audience of these vending machines is not private places, but instead sports events and other public venues with large audiences that typically have long waiting lines for service.

Designed for efficiency, each SmartServ machine can store up to 360 cans and is engineered to open them automatically, completing transactions in under 45 seconds. Following government approval, Yantha plans to install these machines at the Scotiabank Centre and other venues.

According to the N.S. Alcohol and Gaming Department, further consultations and a regulatory review would be considered before any broader implementation of these machines. These machines might need to have dedicated staff to ensure that they are not serving minors.

Andrew Tanner, president of the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia, welcomes the invention and feels that this innovation will be helpful for the local beer industry as the machines could be applied at larger venues, or public areas with large waiting lines.

SmartServ tested their vending machines at a 2022 MLB All-Star game in Los Angeles and had great success. Yantha confirms that the vending machines are ready to be deployed in Nova Scotia after testing is fully completed and any imperfections are resolved.