Alcohol

Beer in Vending Machines Is the American Way

|

They don't call these guys the Greatest Generation for nothing.

cold beer

The blog at the Washington City Paper reports:

Among the perks available to residents of the Armed Forces Retirement Home: beer machines.

In the canteen, at the golf course and at various spots in hallways throughout the compound, you'll find vending machines that dispense cold beer.

Any time, day or night, folks with a thirst and some spare change can grab a Miller, Miller Lite, Michelob or Budweiser for $1.50 a can.

Sodas and water are just a quarter less.

I hear rumors from the old folks that you used to be able to get cigarettes this way as well. But that's probably just the Alzheimer's talking.

NEXT: Ten O'Clock Links

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “Any time, day or night, folks with a thirst and some spare change can grab a Miller, Miller Lite, Michelob or Budweiser for $1.50 a can.”

    Or, they could just piss in a cup of ice for free.

  2. Wow, these used to be quite common in Germany, I have never seen one in the US though.

    RT
    http://www.anonymity.eu.tc

  3. In the Armed Forces Retirement Home they have power hours too, but for them it’s drinking a beer and staying awake for 60 consecutive minutes.

  4. you used to be able to get cigarettes this way as well

    I’m old enough to remember machines that dispensed a free pack of matches with your Camels.
    What a wondrous world it was.

  5. They have these available to the general public in Japan.

  6. My apartment building in Baltimore still had a cig vending machine in 1992. A pack was $2.

  7. Or, they could just piss in a cup of ice for free.

    Michelob’s not bad. I’d buy one if only for the novelty of getting it out of a machine.

  8. I’ve seen them in barracks, in laundromats and pool/game rooms on base. Military service & beer just mesh seamlessly.

  9. When I was in Vietnam, cigarettes were FREE! (And grass was, I don’t know, $2 a pound. (Seriously)) And pardon me while I kiss the sky!

  10. Yeah, Michelob is ok. I wish they had Yuengling in that machine, though.

  11. I’m old enough to remember machines that dispensed a free pack of matches with your Camels.
    What a wondrous world it was.

    But do you remember two or three cents change taped to your dispensed pack?

  12. I only vaguely remember seeing a cigarette vending machine once IRL.

  13. As a child, I was occasionally sent to the local drug store by a neighbor (my parents didn’t smoke) to buy her a couple of packs of Lucky’s. No questions asked. Cigarette vending machines were as ubiquitous in America throughout my youth as Coke machines are today.

    Speaking of which, I can’t say whether they’re still there now, but when I was living in Germany in the early 1990s vending machines routinely stocked both soft drinks and beer. And in the entirely residential neighborhood where we lived outside Frankfurt, apparently just in case you ran out between your house and your car, there was a cigarette vending machine stuck in the middle of the parking lot next to our townhouse complex.

    Good times.

  14. But do you remember two or three cents change taped to your dispensed pack?

    Hell no. But I didn’t smoke. I just used to check the machines for unused matches. It was like found treasure for a poor kid.

  15. In my co-op house in college, the the vending machine had a slot for beer, and it would be stocked with crap beer, but at random intervals there would be a good beer. It was like gambling and getting booze all wrapped up in one good time.

  16. I first encountered this particular example of the American Way when I lived in Spain.

  17. SIGN ME UP!!!

  18. I remember getting beer at McDonald’s in Hanau… C battery had the vending machine, God forbid Alpha should have had one

  19. A fair number of bars in Baltimore still have cig machines inside of them. They are a dying breed though…

  20. That brings back memories of days gone by.

  21. Any time, day or night, folks with a thirst and some spare change can grab a Miller, Miller Lite, Michelob or Budweiser for $1.50 a can.

    So I take it, $1.50 is the going rate for a can of cold piss. But is there anywhere they can get a Beer?

  22. Man, I want beer like that! I just wonder how Shaken up it gets

  23. No Tuborg Gold? Dagnabit!

  24. There’s a bar here in Edmond OK that still has a cigarette vending machine. It’s like $5 or $5.50 a pack, though.

  25. Years ago I worked at a Sailing School in Annapolis.

    The soda machine always had one button that was “out of order”….it was actually beer roulette. You pushed it and you usually got a cheap beer…but sometimes you got a Heiniken in a can!!!

    That is what you get when you let the employees fill the soda machine!!

  26. I remember an establishment in Rochester NY where the mafia use to launder money through the cigarette machine. You could put in the $2.50/pack listed price, or you could just pull the lever. The Machine would spit out your Marlboros either way.

  27. They’ve got beer, cigarette, and porn vending machines in Japan. Why they aren’t legal here I’ll never understand – it’s not like the Japanese are on one perpetual Mardi Gras like bender because they can buy beer from a vending machine…

  28. My college fraternity had one of those in the basement of the house. It was just a soda machine but for the beer there were empty cans between the cans of beer so a beer cost twice as much as a soda. Needless to say, it was very popular.

  29. They’ve got beer, cigarette, and porn vending machines in Japan.

    Wow, what more could they want? Well, apparently a soiled schoolgirl panties vending machine.

  30. My neighborhood bar still has a working cigarette machine, and if the right bartender is working, you can smoke ’em inside as long as there aren’t any cops around. And this is in Southern California. I love my neighborhood.

  31. The last cigarette machine I saw dispensed cigarette-pack-sized “art” for $5.

  32. Everyone is going to call me a liar but . . . there was a cigarette machine in our high school when I was in junior high. Apparently it was damaged beyond repair during Hurricane Georges.

  33. Beer vending machines were the single greatest plus about living in Japan when I was there. It wasn’t cheap, but $10 would get you a nice jug of beer at any hour. (A close runner-up was the private karaoke rooms where you ordered your food/drinks with a remote control and they just appeared moments later.)

    And yes ‘dfd,’ Tokyo does indeed have soiled schoolgirl panties for sale. I remember seeing such a machine the first time and thinking “silly Japanese” (my most common refrain while living in that wonderfully quirky country).

  34. One day I hope to live in a world with 8-ball vending machines.

  35. In Europe, cig machines were on nearly every corner. Now, I see them only in casinos.
    I do remember buying smokes from a bowling alley machine when I was 14 or so.

  36. In Spain we didn’t need vending machines. There were Moroccan dudes selling Estrella (Star?) in the streets 24 hours a day.

    You could also buy marijuana, samosas, and sex.

    None of this was technically legal, of course. But nobody seemed to care.

  37. Why they aren’t legal here I’ll never understand

    To protect the children.

  38. In Spain we didn’t need vending machines. There were Moroccan dudes selling Estrella (Star?) in the streets 24 hours a day.

    You could also buy marijuana, samosas, and sex.

    Marijuana perhaps, but I prefer not to get my sex from Moroccan dudes.

  39. Well played, sir. Well played.

  40. We used to be a free country once upon a time.
    Unfortunately that was more then 200 years ago.

  41. How long ago were the Salem Witch Trials?

    I don’t know that we were ever as free as libertarians like to think we were.

  42. (counting myself in that, by the way; I like to lament the loss of our liberty just as much as the next guy… )

  43. None of this was technically legal, of course. But nobody seemed to care.

    Spain is pretty relaxed. As long as you’re of European descent and not a Muslim. Or a gypsy.

  44. There are no Jews in Spain. Not really.

  45. Vending Machines? We don’t got no vending machines! We don’t need no steenking vending machines!

  46. There are no Jews in Spain. Not really.

    But there sure are a lot of opinions on them.

  47. Just saw working cigarette machine in the bar at a cheap resort in the Poconos last summer. I think smokes were $6/pack. They sold at the gas station down the road for about $4.50. No matches.

    Never saw a beer vending machine, but I was told that one of the perks of being a volunteer fireman in Waterville, NY was a soda machine dispensing beers for 50 cents in the firehouse. This was back in the mid 80s, don’t know if still goes on.

  48. I should also add that I can back that AP article up personally. While teaching I encountered tons of that crap.

    Sure, they loved me, and mostly, I think, on account of my last name. But as much as I dig that country… they have a long way to go on issues of race.

  49. I miss cigarette machines.

  50. Back row guy,

    One of my perks as a volunteer FF was a key to the fire station with it’s stocked fridge and an honor system cigar box (50c/can). As an 18 year old in a 21 state, I was very popular with my friends but had to mete out the six packs at a controlled rate.

    All long ago and long gone now.

  51. Back when being old enough to sign up to be shot at (aka the Armed Forces, 1984) meant they still sold beer to folks under 21 on Army posts, I recall when I got to my first training school. I wanted a coke so I asked where the vending machines were and ran down the hall. There were my choices, right there in the Machine Dr. Pepper, Coke, 7Up . . . Miller, Budweiser . . . Sweet Hay-Zeus Christo. Nice.

  52. Cig Machine
    Suburbs
    Album – In Combo
    1980

    Standing by the cig machine
    trying to pick up girls
    have a plastic cigarette
    I can’t smoke.

    She’s pulling at the levers
    she’s glancing at my bulge
    I’m 22 now
    and I got a nice cock

    I have my very own cig machine
    up in my room
    come on up and try it, girls
    I’ll do the rest

    Last time I saw her
    standing by the cig machine
    kicked the TV off the shelf
    bought another case of beer
    took another puff
    off of my plastic cigarette

  53. The Obama Markets: On Election Day 2008, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 9,625.On Inauguration Day 2009, the DJIA closed at 7,949.09.Today the Dow is at 7,342. Make him stop!!!

  54. I know, Gurgle. The Obama Effect so far has taken 23% off the equity markets. He’s a Bear Market all by himself.

    Can I still say that?

  55. You could also buy marijuana, samosas, and sex.

    I normally get these from Girl Scouts.

    Oh, I thought that was ‘samoas’

    Nevermind.

  56. I lived in Germany for about 6 months. There were no beer machines but cig machines were ubiquitous. Literally ever block had one or two in some parts of town.

    They were about 4 euros, about 6 bucks at the time. But that’s a totally normal price for smokes anywhere.

    I didn’t see any kids smoking.

    My friend was in Amsterdam once and a child asked him for a cigarette. He relented. He saw an older gentleman give him the parental stink eye. I laughed my ass off.

  57. One day I hope to live in a world with 8-ball vending machines.

    Epi, it’s nice to dream. It’d certainly be nice to have that kind of coke machine in the office break room. Might make getting through that afternoon sleepiness from my two Manhattan lunch a bit easier.

  58. But that isn’t beer in that vending machine. It’s Bud and Miller.

  59. A buck-fifty seems kind of expensive for crap beer like that that. I certainly wouldn’t pay $9.00 for a six-pack of that stuff. Of course, this establishment has a bit of a captive audience.

    Every restaurant in America had a cigarette machine when I was a little kid. It was no more unusual than a phone phooth.

  60. I should say a pay phone. Most restaurants didn’t have actual phone booths. Though it would have been cool if they did.

  61. This is how to attract new recruits! Forget about college tuition- just tell them that after only 20 years of service they can retire in style:)

    http://biergirl.blogspot.com/2009/02/guzzle-worthy-news-flash.html

  62. With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.