The Village Bar is a long-standing establishment in downtown Ralston. Upon entering, it seems like a place that doesn’t need to change much to keep people coming in the door.
Owner Brock Hatterman had an idea for a change though.
“I’ve been trying to think of a way to expand our beer selection,” he said.
But the Village Bar doesn’t have the capacity to hold all the beers behind the bar.
So Hatterman did some research of his own, and asked the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission and Nebraska State Patrol to see what his options were.
What he came up with is the first of its kind: a beer vending machine.
“They don’t [exist], at least for beer,” Hatterman said.
The machine was put in on Oct. 20 in the back of the Village Bar and is stocked with 43 different kinds of beer. There are local Nebraska beers, fruity beers, seasonal beers and everything in between. The machine can hold up to 300 cans.
So far, the vending machine has been a hit.
“So far it’s been going over pretty good,” Hatterman said. “I had a couple groups in here last night using it.”
So far, Hatterman said the most popular beers have been the Indian pale ales — commonly known as IPAs — any of the fruitier beers and a hard root beer.
But bar patrons can’t just walk up and put in a couple dollars to buy a beer. The vending machine was made so no cash can be inserted. Only drink vouchers are accepted.
The vouchers — for $4, the cost of all beer inside the machine — are printed with a photo of President Barack Obama drinking a beer.
“I figured all money has a president on it,” Hatterman said.
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