Michigan bill could make 'robo-bartenders' a reality statewide

House introduced bill on Sept. 21

Photo of Angela Mulka

Michigan could use robo-bartenders, alcoholic dispensing machines, in restaurants and hotels to dispense liquor directly to customers under legislation introduced by state Rep. Rodney Wakeman, D-Saginaw County.

Introduced on Sept. 21, Wakeman's House Bill 5304 aims to authorize the use of robo-bartender alcoholic dispensing machines that are located at a customer's table or booth in restaurants, and in the bedroom or suite of a hotel of a class A or class B hotel licensee.

The bill would amend the Michigan liquor control code of 1998 by adding section 552 which would allow for alcohol dispensing machines to be located at those places.

Under the proposed legislation, the robo-bartender must not dispense more than 96 ounces of beer, wine or mixed spirit drink in a single order. The robo-bartender would also not be permitted to dispense spirituous liquor "straight." With the use of dispensing machines, the customer must still order their desired drink from a clerk, servant, agent or employee of the establishment.

And, the dispensing machine would be subject to requirements that a staff member monitors the service.