There’s a brewery that gives you free beer if you’re good at guitar: “It’s essentially a souped-up Guitar Hero for adults.”

A logo that reads "Panhead Custom Ales: Slay To Pay"
(Image credit: Panhead Custom Ales via YouTube)

A brewery in New Zealand has installed a vending machine that lets customers pay for beer by being good at guitar.

Panhead Custom Ales in Wellington uses a “Slay To Pay” system that’s fitted with a custom Epiphone Explorer. The machine has an A.I. system to test a user’s playing and, if it deems you talented enough, will reward you with a can of beer.

Rebecca Sinclair, head of brand at Panhead Custom Ales, has told Guitar World: “It’s essentially a souped-up Guitar Hero for adults. 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.”

She added: “The machine was the perfect combination of a couple of our favourite things: cold beer and really loud music. 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.”

Guitar World reports that the vending machine prefers hearing “the noisier end of the guitar music spectrum”. The genres available to play are metal, punk and grunge. If you’re deemed talented enough to have earned a free drink, the machine will tell you, “You came, you played, you slayed!” before giving you your beverage.

Another New Zealand brewery, Garage Project, made headlines in 2017 by playing their 666th batch of beer heavy metal music for 11 days as it fermented.

Head brewer Pete Gillespie told Vice: “We've got a friend, Jimmy, who's covered from head to toe in demonic tattoos and we share his love of darker music. We got him to prepare a playlist and he arranged 11 days of nonstop dark metal, doom metal, death metal and heavy metal. He arranged it chronologically, with no repeats for those 11 days. That's dedication.”

Gillespie concluded of the beer: “It's deceptively drinkable for 10.5% alcohol. Pitch black, but not overly roasty, which is what we wanted.”

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.