‘Inappropriate’ alcohol vending machine given permission to open in Glasgow City Centre

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Councillors worried about the vending machine promoting alcohol misuse

A four star hotel has won permission to sell alcohol from a vending machine after ditching most of its mini bars.

The Malmaison Hotel was granted the licence despite concerns from a health official about it exposing people to alcohol when they don’t expect it.

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The vending machine will sit in the lobby at the West George Street venue in the city centre.

A receptionist is to ID those who wish to buy a beer or Prosecco from the machine, which will operate 24 hours a day.

A Glasgow health and social care partnership representative said using a vending machine to dispense booze is “inappropriate”at the city’s licensing board meeting on Friday.

Speaking at the meeting, she voiced worries about young people potentially buying the drink.

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An agent acting on behalf of the hotel said alcohol is not on display and it couldn’t be obtained without the receptionist “intervening to approve.” He said the machines already operate in hotels elsewhere.

He said: “I can’t for the life of me see why it would not work in Glasgow.

In a bid to reassure councillors it would not pose a risk to the fuelling of alcohol misuse, he pointed out the drink would be sold at mini bar prices and it would be much cheaper to buy elsewhere.

The health representative claimed the move would make alcohol available in an environment where you don’t expect it. She raised issues about exposure of alcohol to “vulnerable groups and those who don’t wish to be in presence of alcohol.”

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The alcohol vending machine will open in the lobby of a city centre hotelThe alcohol vending machine will open in the lobby of a city centre hotel
The alcohol vending machine will open in the lobby of a city centre hotel

Scottish Greens councillor Dan Hutchison asked why it couldn’t be made available through room service.

Replying to the question, the agent said the machine would allow staff to have more time to complete other tasks.

The application for the variation of the premises licence was granted but the alcohol would only be available for guests.

The initial application also included an off sales bid.

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