On Monday the Rules Committee at the Arkansas House of Representatives passed a bill authorizing alcohol sales at bars and restaurants via self-service vending machines.

S.B. 475 by Sen. Joshua Bryant (R – Rogers) amends Arkansas’ law prohibiting alcohol sales via vending machine.

The bill authorizes self-serve machines that dispense beer, wine, mixed drinks, and distilled spirits for on-premises consumption in bars and restaurants.

S.B. 475 would authorize self-serve bars and taprooms in Arkansas as other states have done.

Under S.B. 475, patrons would be provided with an radio frequency identification device device (RFID) — such as a bracelet with an RFID in it — that they could scan to activate the self-serve machine.

A person would be able to self-serve up to 32 ounces of beer, 12 ounces of wine, ten ounces of mixed liquors, or three ounces of unmixed, distilled spirits before the RFID would require reactivation by an employee at the bar or restaurant.

Among other things, self-serve alcohol consumption at bars and restaurants raises concerns about oversight and about ensuring that patrons aren’t over-served.

That is part of why Family Council opposes S.B. 475.

S.B. 475 now goes to the entire Arkansas House of Representatives for consideration.