1. Australia’s first robotic bar opens in Darlinghurst and drinks are on the house

Two robots, Heidi and Ken, will be handing out endless alcohol-free beers

A new bar popping up in Darlinghurst is manned exclusively by robots. Created in conjunction with engineers and students at the University of Sydney, a Heineken pop-up bar is opening in Darlinghurst in July, serving free beer. Crucially, however, it appears that the robots are yet to be programmed with RSA guidelines, because be warned: the beer being served is exclusively the zero-alcohol kind.

Robotics expert and head of school at the University of Sydney, Professor Stefan Williams, said in a press release: “We challenged some of our students, who recently completed an experimental robotics course, to create a robotic, contactless solution.

The students programmed the robots to recognise when customers approach the bar and then hand them a beverage.

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2. 2020 Australian International Beer awards cancelled due to COVID-19
Due to the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular the social distancing measures in place, The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) has made the decision to cancel the 2020 Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA).
“The Australian International Beer Awards are reliant on the input of the international and interstate beer and brewing community for both entries and providing experts for the judging panel. With the current restrictions in place in the State of Victoria and across the world, it wasn’t possible to confidently ensure that we could conduct the Awards this year,” said Mr Brad Jenkins CEO of The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) .
Commencing as a small domestic program in 1987, the Australian International Beer Awards has since grown into the largest annual beer competition in the world assessing both draught and packaged beer and attracting more than 2500 entries from more than 400 breweries in 26 countries.

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3. Country residents concerned local pubs stripped of poker machines won’t be viable

The New Coolamon Hotel was once a popular watering hole but now it’s empty. A pub with no beer, no poker machines, and no people. The pub in the small Riverina town of Coolamon in southern NSW was recently sold to a buyer in Sydney.

The five poker machines were the first things to go and since then the pub has not reopened.

In 2018 the New South Wales Government changed laws to allow small country hotels to transfer up to six poker machines without forfeiture, if the transfer resulted in the pub becoming a ‘pokie-free’ venue.

The changes were designed to make it easier for country pubs to sell their machines and since then 123 country hotels have taken advantage of the exemption.

Fourteen of those pubs are no longer trading.

Figures from Liquor and Gaming NSW also showed 13 per cent of all the machines transferred between venues in New South Wales since 2018 went from the country to city venues.

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