Age verification is the bane of alcohol sales – not necessarily because it is unimportant, but because it takes time and creates long queues, putting off customers and lowering sales. Now, new technology is utilising biometrics to validate alcohol purchases and speed up sales.

CLEAR, which previously developed biometric technology to allow travellers to move through airports faster, has installed technology at Safeco Field, the home ground of baseball team the Seattle Mariners. It will soon install the same technology at CenturyLink Field, home of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders. The system debuted in July and is used at two beer stands with dedicated queues.

“What was interesting to both Safeco and CenturyLink was that we can speed up alcohol purchases as well as give customers a very seamless experience where there is a sense of freedom in not having to take a wallet out of your pocket and then take a card out,” explained Joe Trelin, CLEAR’s senior vice president of digital strategy.

CLEAR is a nationwide system which recognises either facial or fingerprint data, and can also link to a customer’s credit card data. “You can use your finger or face to get into the CLEAR express line and then just walk through because they already know you have a ticket,” Trelin said. “Once you’re in the ballpark, you have to do nothing else to buy a beer using CLEAR. It also for the first time lets the team know who is in the ballpark—previously they only knew which ticket had been used but not who used it—which [facilitates] a natural loyalty program.”