The Lexington Hotel in New York City has become the latest venue to install a Moët & Chandon vending machine. Since the first Champagne vending machine debuted in London in time for Christmas 2013, the machines have gradually popped up in luxury destinations worldwide. Is this assign that wine vending machines are on their way?
“We are extremely proud to unveil the first Moët & Chandon vending machine in New York City,” said William van Wassenhove, director of sales and marketing at The Lexington Hotel. “We are always looking for new and unique ways to engage with our guests, and what’s more fun than drinking Champagne straight from the bottle?”
Before the machine hands over one of its 200ml bottles, guests must show identification to staff and then buy a $25 gold coin to insert into the machine. The vending machine at The Lexington offers a choice between the Imperial Brut and Imperial Rosé, and also comes with a flute, for guests who don’t feel like drinking straight from the bottle.
The first such machine was installed at Selfridges luxury department store in London in 2013, in time for the Christmas shopping rush. Each bottle was coated with Swarovski crystals, making them the ideal impulse purchase for anybody stuck for Christmas present ideas.
Moët & Chandon vending machines later appeared in All Bar One in London, and in the US, from Los Angeles and Las Vegas to New Orleans and now New York.
It’s a sign of how habits have changed that these Champagne dispensers are spreading. According to AdWeek, a whisky vending machine called the Evva Whisky Vending Machine was debuted in London in the swinging 60s. For a few coins, patrons could summon up either a straight whisky, or a whisky and soda. But the concept failed. “The Evva machine was a fun gimmick,” wrote journalist Robert Klara, “but people kept buying their drinks at the bar in the decades that followed, and various legal and logistical hurdles have kept the boozy contraptions from taking over in the decades since.”
Installing the machines in hotels like the Lexington are one way to deal with the issues, because they have staff on hand who can check the patron’s age identification. Some machines have also been appeared at special events, like the Golden Globes.
The Moët & Chandon machine also suits the hotel’s image, which makes much of the fact that Marilyn Monroe—a Champagne lover—used to live at the hotel, in suite 1806. Guests can now not only sip Champagne, they can do it in Monroe’s room, now renamed the Norma Jean Suite.
“Our Moët Mini Vending machine is the prefect extension of our efforts to serve consumer in new and exciting ways,” said Jasmin Allen, vice president of Moët & Chandon USA.
So far, few other alcohol vending machines have appeared in Western countries, although they are widely used in Japan. It’s simply too difficult to get around the requirement that someone check that the patron is old enough to buy alcohol. And for that reason, the Champagne dispensers will probably remain the preserve of high-end venues for the foreseeable future.
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