Starbucks Selling Beer and Wine?

It looks like Starbucks is trying to emulate the small-operation coffee houses that many claim it’s put out of business for years. In its headquarters city of Seattle, the company is test marketing a concept that will sell beer and wine and host local events like poetry readings.

What we find most interesting about this is that the prototype, called 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea, won’t even bear the Starbucks name. Instead, these stores, which could roll out nationally if they work in Seattle, will get named after their respective neighborhood locations.

Our first thought? “Wow, this is sneaky.” There are a lot of people out there who are vehemently anti-Starbucks and blame the chain for its so-called predatory growth. Some are saying they’ve actually helped the Mom and Pop competition, though. Is this a secret ploy to go after that customer base?

Or can we look forward to the thousands of Starbucks drive-thrus out there offering six packs?

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7 Responses to “Starbucks Selling Beer and Wine?”


  1. 1 melanie July 17, 2009 at 11:27 am

    isn’t that how they get ya? First they start with a addictive additive and then they throw in the hard chore stuff.

  2. 2 Ladislao July 17, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    In any recession and/or depression, more unemployed persons do what?… They drink… and they don’t drink more coffee that’s for sure. But I guess you have to survive and pay the bills somehow when you have two Starbucks right across the street from each other in many place across the country…

  3. 3 Sierra Falso July 17, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Sounds like they’re knocking us off!

  4. 4 MarketingMix July 19, 2009 at 2:12 am

    Sounds like they’re going after 7-11 now that McDonald’s is smokin’ them.

  5. 5 RetailRealEstateGuy July 20, 2009 at 8:14 am

    Good for them. Every retailer needs to be rolling with the punches and trying new things in this economy. The key is to not overstep your bounds by too much and losing sight of your core business, which Starbucks has done in the past. I’m glad to see that they are still willing to test new product after taking a hit. Personally, I think Starbucks get a bad wrap as being the Evil Empire of Coffee, which is simply ridiculous. Every company is in the game to make a profit and drive out direct competition….thats what a free market is all about!

  6. 6 James July 20, 2009 at 8:41 am

    The Capital Hill neighborhood is a very unique, very high density, and very diverse(some would say off-beat, avante garde)community hovering above downtown Seattle. A retail concept that works well in this environment is not necessarily one that would meet with success in suburban America. This looks like an attempt to overcome some people’s negative reaction to big companies and their product no matter their history or level of social responsibility. The concept could have many applications in similar big city urban environments. Every big city has a so-called Hip community. I wouldn’t expect these to become drive thru beer stores in the suburbs!
    I think Starbucks will be making a big mistake if they over react to competition from McDonalds. Hopefully they will remember the old adage that “in any struggle you become like your enemy”. At the end of the day whats wrong with being a Starbucks??

  7. 7 Ken Simons July 20, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Hmmmm….a latte brewski with two shots of Belgium hopps, extra foam, no lemon please.


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