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Hark, PLCB yanks much-heralded wine kiosks

HARRISBURG – Just in time for the holiday rush for booze, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is temporarily shuttering its much-ballyhooed wine kiosks in grocery stores because of technical problems.

The wine vending kiosks, which are in 30 supermarkets across the state, will be taken offline at 9 p.m. tonight. According to the LCB, some of the machines were experiencing mechanical problems, including not dispensing the wine.

"We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our customers and supermarket partners, but felt this temporary closure was critical to the future success of the program," Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Chairman Patrick J. "PJ" Stapleton said in a statement.

Simple Brands, the developer of the kiosks, will be working on each machine to correct any identified issues, Liquor Control Board officials said. Once all of the kiosks have been fixed and tested, the board will reopen the kiosks, but that is not expected to happen until early in 2011.

For customers looking for last-minute shopping for wine and liquor, all state stores will close at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve and at 8 p.m. on New Year's Eve.