Pennsylvania may be ending its one-year experiment of putting wine vending machines in grocery stores because of a dispute with a contractor.
Supermarket chain Wegmans has already asked the Liquor Control Board to remove the wine “kiosks” from its 10 stores, citing customer complaints.
Now, the LCB says the Conshohocken contractor that provided the wine kiosks owes the state nearly $1 million.
LCB officials say that if its differences with the company can’t be resolved within 45 days it will ”cease all kiosk operations.”
“One of the premises of the contract is to have no cost to the agency and so we submitted our cost for the past two years and they were supposed to pay that,” said Joe Conti, head of the LCB. “That is what has placed them in default, by that non-payment of that expense money due.”
The contractor, Simple Brands LLC, takes issue with the state’s version of the story.
In a letter to the LCB, the contractor’s attorney said the state agency incurred unnecessary expenses and ”improperly” billed them to Simple Brands.
Conti says if the problem is not resolved, the LCB would still look for “bricks and mortar” locations to sell wine, such as the 23 Walmart locations that were part of the still-unapproved plan for kiosk expansion.
There are now 22 wine kiosks throughout the state.