Double Shot

January 26, 2012

I just read an article about Starbucks expanding their offering in certain stores to offer beer, wine, and more food in the evening.

As a marketer, I have deep misgivings about this. Starbucks is supposed to be about coffee. I worry about brand dilution. As a consumer who enjoys coffee and beer, I do not see those two things living in the same space.

But as a change agent, I love this. It is critically important to be uncomfortable from time to time. It’s a good indication you’re trying something new. After all, if it has already been done then you already know how it will play out – nothing to be uncomfortable about there. Starbucks is adding an extra shot to their current offering. That’s terrific. If it works, great. If it doesn’t work, then they will have learned something useful.

Either way, kudos to them.

Now I might humbly offer them some advice. I LOVE coffee flavored beers. (Dogfish Head Chicory Stout, Southern Tier Jahva, Dieu de Ciel Peche Mortel…) Why not develop your stores as THE place to enjoy these beers? It could transform your business. It will definitely transform my Starbucks Gold Card!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Claire Farber January 27, 2012 at 9:28 AM

Adam, I know what you mean about Starbucks being about coffee. For me, I had a different reaction, more along the lines of, “it’s about time!” I had read an article about Howard Schultz a few years back, and it said that his initial inspiration for Starbucks was European cafes – where people would sit comfortably for hours, meet friends, enjoy coffee and such. In many European countries, these cafes serve alcohol as well as coffee. In a recent trip to Greece, my husband and I spent several hours on a rainy day in one such cafe, starting out with a coffee, and then moving to a beer for him and an ouzo for me. So, for me, the Starbucks move is sort of a full-circle tribute to the original insight about European cafes!


Adam January 27, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Two for two on the comments Claire! I did not know this. I definitely look forward to seeing this. Hopefully they’ll do it well and Starbucks won’t feel like some sports bar. Now that’s not entirely up to them – it also depends on the crowd they attract. But I’m always in favor of a good civilized place to enjoy a beer. And as a marketer I am definitely intrigued.


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