Noted by the official Molson Canadian Twitter account this week, Molson Canadian has placed a cherry red, locked fridge in Canada’s Olympic House in Sochi and packed the fridge with enough beer to satiate the burly, bearded men of the Canadian bobsled team ten times over. However, this particular fridge has a catch. It can only be unlocked by inserting a legitimate Canadian passport.
According to the creators of the fridge, a passport is first inserted into a slot located to the left of the fridge door and a photo is taken of the passport using a trigger mechanism and modified webcam. After the passport photo is analyzed by the attached computer and verified, the door unlocks and slowly swings open.
Of course, after the door is open, anyone is welcome to a beer. Rather than adopt a vending machine design that spits out a single can of beer, the fridge is specifically designed to encourage people to seek out a Canadian friend. Prior to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Molson Canadian placed the fridge at multiple locations around Europe and encouraged residents as well as tourists to seek out a Canadian to gain access to the beer inside the fridge. For example, the fridge was placed in public areas within Canterbury, the White Cliffs of Dover, northern France, Cassel, London, Brussels and rural Belgium.
Regarding passport security, it’s unlikely that any passport images are actually stored within the computer built into the fridge. It’s more likely that the passport image is compared to an image of a typical Canadian passport in order to verify the authenticity, then the passport image is discarded. It’s also possible that the images are verified by a team with Molson Canadian, mostly because the fridge will have to be restocked on occasion during the Winter Olympics.