Self-Serve Beer Machines Featuring Actually Good Beer Are Going Mainstream

By Noah Kaufman |

© Chronicle / Alamy

Last summer, self-serve beer machines made a successful public debut at the MLB All-Star Game in Minneapolis and have since expanded into several sports arenas and cruise ships. But so far, the phenomenon has generally featured the sort of underwhelming and overpriced beer typically found in those places. But self-serve is going craft with a pilot program in Southern California. Two Dog Haus restaurants in Santa Ana and Fullerton will install iPourIt machines, which let customers pour excellent beer the way they currently pour a fountain drink. While iPourIt has installed self-serve machines in other places around the country, this is its first time coming to a chain of this size—Dog Haus has planned a massive expansion to more than 70 restaurants in five states in the near future.   

The sausage and slider chain has always taken their beer seriously with regularly changing offerings from breweries like Avery, Oskar Blues and Los Angeles’s Golden Road. They said they plan to use that same mindset with their self-serve machines and feature rotating taps from local breweries. The early list includes Cismontane, Nobel Ale Works and The Bruery. To use the system, customers show ID and then purchase a prepaid card, which they use to buy beer by the ounce. Just as during the baseball game last summer, the machine includes safeguards to prevent anyone from buying or drinking too much beer too quickly. “We’re not going to let someone walk up and just order $100 worth of beer,” Doghaus co-founder Quasim Riaz told QSR.

This is all great news for craft beer fans. Self-serve, local beer is just one more way to support the small brewers doing great work all over the country. Now, who wants to take bets on how long until this shows up at Chipotle?

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