Self-serve beer coming to Philly sporting venues

Self-serve beer coming to Philly sporting venues
Evan Macy

In New Jersey, they can’t even pump their own gas.

But at two sporting venues in South Philly, they’re about to start letting you pour your own beer.

“Beer fountains” — they’re officially called Draftserv machines, but the similarity to soda fountains seems apt — were quietly installed at the Wells Fargo Center last month. They are set to debut at Lincoln Financial Field this weekend.

To work them, customers buy a prepaid card and pour away. And yes, there’s a cashier checking IDs and making sure the obscenely inebriated can’t use them.

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Domestic beer — that’s Bud Light — costs 41 cents per ounce. Premium brew — that’s Goose Island and Stella Artois — costs 64 cents an ounce.

Customers can pay for as much beer as they want, but the machine limits servings to 32 ounces. Max that out, and you’ll have to wait 8 minutes.

But you can buy half a beer, if you want, said Justin Musciano, the concessions manager at the Wells Fargo Center for Aramark.

The cards are sold in $20 increments and are good throughout the season. So, for those that can’t drink 50 ounces of beer (about three pints), there’s always next time. The machine has a countdown clock that tells customer how many ounces they have left on their tab.

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Musciano says the system, which is in about half a dozen other stadiums across the country, is about convenience.

“If you are a guy and you want another beer, you’ve already paid for it. You’re back in your seat before you know it,” Musciano said.

The system promises to reduce spillage and waste. That’s a big profit boost for concessionaires. How might it do that, you ask. When a bartender spills beer while pouring, the business pays. butyou pour your own beer, you end up paying for what you spill.