VIDEO: Inside The Boozy Future Of Starbucks

As we reported several months ago, Starbucks is attempting to reinvigorate its image with shops in Seattle that aren’t just aesthetically different than your average ‘Bucks, but which also dole out beer and wine. Now USA Today has ventured inside of one such Seattle shop to see the results.

Check out the video below to get a peek at what might be the future of Starbucks. In addition to serving booze, the experimental outlet is making an attempt to draw in the after-work crowd and get them to stay for longer than it takes to just wait for their mochachino.

“We’ve tried to create a variety of options that you find in more of restaurant at night, especially cheese and cured meats,” says a Starbucks exec. “More savory items that go along with that nighttime experience.”

Starbucks remakes its future with an eye on beer and wine [USA Today]


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  1. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    While I don’t think anyone could ever go wrong with cheese and cured meat, Starbucks has an uphill battle trying to compete with local happy hour specials. Starbucks is synonymous with coffee, and people aren’t necessarily going to associate it with beer and wine just because it will start offering beer and wine.

    • blogger X says:

      Won’t they need to obtain licenses to sell booze?

      • ARP says:

        Yes, and in some cities, liquor licenses can be quite expensive (depending on if they get bar liquor license or restaurant liquor license).

        • blogger X says:

          They might want to rethink their strategy and become more of an upscale sandwhich shop, then. Oh wait…

    • xxmichaelxx says:

      “Starbucks is synonymous with coffee, and people aren’t necessarily going to associate it with beer and wine just because it will start offering beer and wine. “

      This is always the uphill battle, and it won’t be overcome without massive restructuring. Sandwiches are a great example: I can spend less $ for a sandwich at Starbucks compared to the sandwich shop right next door, but Sbux will NEVER match the quality of other stores’ sandwiches without massive changes to their whole set of built-in processes.

      This was also the case with Borders when I worked for them. We were forever trying to add menu items to wring a few more dollars from the customer, but without exception those menu items sucked (especially compared to the cost!) Making coffee drinks isn’t the same as making other food/drinks. Sbux will never affordably go into these other markets without real restructuring, which will dilute the brand even further than those crappy grocery store Sbux already have.

      Alcohol may be easier to pull off, but do they really want people hanging out drinking in their stores? And do people really want to hang out and drink in an Sbux? I don’t — there’s no pool table. ;-)

  2. ARP says:

    So is their wine going to be overpriced and bitter as well? $10 per glass Yellow Tail here we come!

  3. u1itn0w2day says:


    Expansion into other areas or desperation to make up for tanking domestic sales? This might work well in Europe about their only expanding market at this time. Man they charge 4$ for a coffee what the heck will they charge for a brew?


    • enomosiki says:

      Starbucks coffee costs like $2 for a medium, no more than $3 for the largest, about as same as Dunkin’ Donuts.

  4. u1itn0w2day says:

    Actually the alcohol is to numb your taste buds up so when you have their coffee at the end of a ‘snack’ you won’t give a heck. But when you try buying it in the a m sober you’ll be what the …

  5. madanthony says:

    I guess if you have a group of people, some of whom prefer coffee and some of whom prefer booze, it might be a good place to go.

    Don’t know if it will succeed, but it’s good for them to throw things against the wall and see if they stick.

  6. lonestarbl says:

    Forget beer & wine… bring on the whiskey!

    • ARP says:

      Depending on the city/state, there’s a big price difference between a beer/wine liquor license (which is usually associated with a restaurant) and a full liquor license (for a bar).

    • SixOfOne says:

      But can you put the whiskey in the coffee? Mmmm hot toddy.

  7. Starfury says:

    I still won’t ever go there.

  8. SkreanAme says:

    Ooh, community tables made of reclaimed wood by local artists (from around the globe? That part I don’t understand).

    That’s an idea who’s time has come in Seattle, and that time was roughly ten years ago.

    Still, I’ll check it out. Maybe I could have a glass of wine with that girl Whitney? Who like, is sticking to coffee during the day but maybe for nighttime? She seems , like, pleasant?

    • parv says:

      I am sure you are going to like “like like” her, not like “just like”, you know.

      (I like wanted to stuff more “like” in there, but like I have not had coffee like her yet.)