At first glance, it seemed like a dumb idea, but 45 other states are okay with it, and there appear to be some really good reasons in favor of doing this and some built-in safeguards. It's new legislation signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer that legalizes self-serve beer taps, wine taps, and mixed drink dispensers.

The concerns I would have with this - how do you police this? It's not a soda dispenser, which really doesn't cost operators much, but for most restaurants with liquor licenses, the profit is in the booze. But that worry goes away with a prepaid key card you can wear that meters how much booze you're pouring/dispensing to yourself. Still, as anyone in the food service industry knows, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission has zero sense of humor and it's a bit surprising they'd have signed off on this. Proponents argue that this system actually better keeps tabs on how much a patron consumes, and in this age of staffing shortages, one less thing for owners to worry about and you can't blame a bartender or waitstaff if your drink is late.

WWJ Radio in Detroit says "Senate Bill 656 amends the Michigan Liquor Control Code of 1998 to allow for tabletop and wall-mounted taps to be installed in Michigan bars and restaurants." Before you get too excited, tabletop and table-side are two different things, with some wags thinking you'd never even have to leave your seat for the entire time you're at an establishment except when you have to go wee.

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One colleague asked an interesting question: If you're pouring, are you the one who has to change the barrel? Hmmm.

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