soda machine
A soda machine in Washington, D.C., (not pictured), was selling malt liquor for $3 to everyone, including minors, until police had it removed. Reuters

For those in the know, a soda machine had been selling malt liquor, instead of Pepsi products to anyone with $3 – including children -- until Washington, D.C., police found out and removed the vending machine.

The news was first broke by a tweet on Feb. 27 from the Trinidad Neighborhood Association, alleging that kids had access to the malt-liquor-dispensing Pepsi machine; apparently, the sodas were replaced with malt liquor over the past few months.

The Metropolitan Police "has found a Pepsi machine in the front yard of a#TrinidadDC apartment building that was vending cans of malt liquor," the tweet said.

According to a blog called, the “rogue” machine was removed after an investigation by the police department.

"The Pepsi machine was in front of a 4-unit apartment and of course no one claimed responsibility for it. It charged $3 for the malt liquor so kids were buying it (cheaper for adults to get at the store). MPD disabled it and were waiting for the property owner to have it removed," Danielle Bays, who is president of the Trinidad Neighborhood Association, told

The blog also said a Virginia town had a similar problem with a vending machine in its meeting hall that dispensed alcohol.

It's illegal in Washington to use vending machines to sell alcohol, but in New York City one bar in the Meatpacking District actually sells its drinks “the same way a snack machine sells Ruffles,” said.

The bar, called the Vinatta Project, has an entire wall full of vending machines offering Johnnie Walker Blue, red wine, mescal or tequila. The vending machines work using a prepaid key card, which also dispenses a clean glass on the zinc-topped bar. The bar, which opened in late 2011, also offers drinks “the old-fashioned way” -- through a bartender.