Starbucks to Sell Wine
July 22, 2009 by Doug Haugen
Starbucks Coffee Company has announced that they will begin selling wine and beer at their Capitol Hill location on 15th Avenue and perhaps in locations in two other neighborhoods. According to an article in the Seattle Times, this is part of a larger experiment to localize their stores in some communities like so many of the popular semi-independent coffee houses like Victrola Coffee Roasters.
This Capitol Hill location will be renamed “15th Avenue Coffee and Tea,” shedding the iconic Starbucks logo. Even the bags of coffee beans sold in the store will have a new location-specific brand, and the remodel of the store will result in a metamorphosis from the pre-packaged Starbucks decor. The store will begin to host live music and poetry readings, and even the espresso machines are being traded out for manually operated ones rather than the automatic ones they’ve been using for a decade.
Basically, you’ll never know you’re at a Starbucks.
According to an article in the San Francisco Business Times, the baristas were certified in Washington to sell alcoholic beverages. Does that make them bartenders as well? Will Starbucks begin to hire sommeliers?
With the drive to localize, I’ll be curious to see how many local wines and beers are offered at this new incarnation of the Starbucks coffee shop.
Interestingly, The San Francisco Business Times points out that Starbucks was originally incorporated in 1971 under the name “Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spices.” Perhaps the 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea location is more of a throwback to the good ol’ days than it is a revolutionary new idea.