What is a Personal Beverage Vendor?

G. Wiesen

A personal beverage vendor is a relatively small vending machine designed for use in a home or small office to distribute beverages. Built to be significantly smaller than a traditional vending machine and operate without the need of coins or paper money, a personal beverage vendor is designed to otherwise function just like commercial models. Different models may come with different features, but the basic concept is to allow vending machine style distribution of chilled beverages without the hassle of money.

Some personal beverage vendors allow the user to stock beer and then deny access to minors.
Some personal beverage vendors allow the user to stock beer and then deny access to minors.

Generally about the same size as a mini-refrigerator, a personal beverage vendor is meant to be part of a room other than the kitchen and to bring some fun and levity to any environment. Designed to look similar to larger, traditional vending machines, the personal beverage vendors can be opened and loaded with a number of cans or bottles of any type of beverage. Buttons across the front allow for easy drink selection and are often clear card holders so a user can insert cards to label what each button will release.

Once a button is pushed, the beverage drops down with a sound much like traditional vending machines. The personal beverage vendor keeps drinks chilled with an internal cooling system, so it will likely require a power source and need to be plugged into a standard wall outlet with a grounded three-prong plug. Most vendors also come with a stand that allows the machine to be raised for easier access and use, or it can be placed directly onto a counter or other area for optimal access.

Some models of personal beverage vendors allow easy customization through panels that users can insert images into. These can be logos of favorite sports teams, particular beverages, or just about anything else a user might desire or create. A personal beverage vendor may also include the ability to lock out certain beverages inside so that pushing the button will not release the contents until unlocked. This allows a user to stock alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages simultaneously and lock out the alcoholic ones when children are around or are unsupervised.

To improve performance, some models also include indicator lights to alert users to when a particular beverage is getting low. Some models of vendors also include shelving areas for easy storage of extra beverages or snacks. For safety reasons, they may also not allow beverages to be distributed while the door is open for loading of the cans or bottles.

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