“Essentially a souped-up Guitar Hero for adults”: A New Zealand brewery has invented a beer vending machine that lets you pay with your guitar skills

Slay to pay guitar beer vending machine
(Image credit: Panhead Custom Ales)

A bar in New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, has gained an international reputation as a go-to for guitarists, after it unveiled a beer vending machine that lets you pay with your electric guitar skills. 

Panhead Custom Ales Brewery’s Slay To Pay vending machine is equipped with a customized Epiphone Explorer guitar and uses an AI algorithm to assess the player’s ability. If you pass the machine’s test, you are rewarded with a cold can of beer.

“It's essentially a souped up Guitar Hero for adults,” says Rebecca Sinclair, head of Brand at Panhead Custom Ales. 

“As far as we know, this is a first of its kind machine with some pretty cool new tech and the best kind of reward for those willing to give it a go. No one has done this before.”

The machine’s tastes seems to trend to the noisier end of the guitar music spectrum. As such, when it boots up players are asked to select from punk, metal and grunge genres and then demands you ‘slay’. 

If you’re successful it proclaims, “You came, you played, you slayed!” before dispensing the reward.

“The machine was the perfect combination of a couple of our favorite things, cold beer and really loud music,” says Sinclair. 

“We gave it its first run at the Panhead Rolling Stone Music Awards and it turns out it's pretty ruthless. It rejected some of the best guitarists in the country.”

The firm’s Instagram page shows a couple of clips of the machine in action, with various successful players cracking open their reward cans. 

Currently, Panhead says the Slay to Pay machine has been retired for Christmas, but will be back in 2024 – perhaps it’s time for us to book that flight.

Keep an eye on the Panhead Custom Ales Instagram page for more information. 

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.