Bringing coffee shots to the next level: Starbucks to offer wine

Starbucks Wine: Will every sip smell like burnt coffee beans?
Starbucks Wine: Will every sip smell like burnt coffee beans?

You may have heard rumors of Starbucks’ master plan to offer wine at some of its stores. But did you know that this concept is already being tested at a few of their locations? The reality is that this idea will soon spread, most likely to a store near you. Thoughts?

First, this is a huge opportunity that I’ve been convinced they were missing as far back as college. But I have to say, their planned implementation is not quite right, or at least not quite optimized yet. Below I will express my concerns with their plan and define what I believe would be the winning formula for Starbucks and alcoholic beverages.

Starbucks’ Current Plan: Offer beer and wine.

Concern: Starbucks brand is known as coffee experts, not wine or beer.
Concern: coffee aroma in everything, including Rieslings and Chardonnays?
Concern: where would college kids go to study without being tempted again to party with an abundance of beer on tap?
Concern: could this alter the current coffee shop vibe and upset existing loyal coffee lovers?

My Advice to Starbucks: Stick with coffee!

A better way to be successful is with alcoholic coffee drinks – this makes much more sense as it is keeping with the existing image of coffee experts. Some ideas include:

o   Irish Whiskey
o   Bailey’s Coffee
o   Kahlua Coffee
o   Brandy Alexander Coffee (w/ice cream)

Back in college, I was sure that Starbucks could make boatloads more cash if they simply followed this schedule:

  • 4am – 4pm: Coffee/espresso drinks only
  • 4pm – 6pm: Happy hour begins! Mixed coffee drinks
  • 6pm – 2am: Mixed coffee drinks continue
  • 2am – 3am: Regular coffee only
  • 3am – 4am: Closed for cleanup

Why this would work: staying open until 3am gives drunks time to sober up after bars close – people will swarm in by the dozens…for coffee!

My final thought: If anyone ever catches me drinking a glass of wine (or a pint of beer for that matter) at a Starbucks coffee shop, please just order me a couple espresso shots to SOBER UP!

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