Wal-Mart ends deal to install wine machines in Pa.

AP News
Posted: Aug 24, 2011 6:24 PM
Wal-Mart ends deal to install wine machines in Pa.

Wal-Mart has decided not to install 23 state-controlled wine vending machines in its Pennsylvania stores.

An Aug. 15 letter from Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board says it's terminating the agreement but doesn't say why. A company statement released Wednesday blames "mechanical concerns" with the 10-foot-high machines, which can hold hundreds of bottles.

A lawyer for the machines' vendor, Simple Brands LLC, says the machines are operating smoothly. He questions what Wal-Mart bases its statement on.

The program began last summer. Liquor board CEO Joe Conti says the board and Wal-Mart are discussing other partnerships, such as a store-within-a-store concept.

The move comes amid calls by Gov. Tom Corbett and some Republican state lawmakers to privatize state control over wine and liquor sales.