THE Grape & Grain bar is redefining what alcohol on tap actually means.

Customers with a pre-paid card purchased at the bar can serve themselves at the push of a button on either of the two wine dispensers.

The bar in BIG Hotel Singapore in Bugis has offered the service since last October.

Mr Steven Foo, executive director of food and beverage firm The Quayside Group, which owns the Grape & Grain, believes the wine dispensers encourage customers to be more self-sufficient.

"People like the wine dispensers because they are easy to use and reduce spillage and spoilage of wine," he said. The dispensers have also halved waiting times.

The machines underscore Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam's call for consumers to be more at ease with self-service technologies and be less dependent on service staff.

It also helps Mr Foo cope with the manpower shortage as fewer service staff are needed to restock mini-bars or serve customers.

As a result, he employs two workers instead of four and saves more than $60,000 a year.

Mr Foo imported the wine dispensers from the United States at US$6,000 (S$7,600) a piece