Starbucks Alcohol: Coffee Giant to Sell Beer and Wine

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Starbucks coffee cup
Starbucks, the international coffee giant, is looking to expand to sell alcohol on its menu, with beer and wine to appear on menus in Chicago by the end of 2012.

Starbucks, the international coffee giant, is looking to expand to sell alcohol on its menu, with beer and wine to appear on menus in Chicago by the end of 2012.

According to The Chicago Tribune, Starbucks will offer wine and beer on the menu in order to expand traffic in the evening hours.

We're really trying to expand the evening daypart, Starbucks spokesman Alan Hilowitz told The Chicago Tribune. Customers have told us they want to be able to come in and have coffee, or a glass of wine.

Starbucks has been testing the alcohol concept for two years with six stores in Seattle and Portland serving alcohol. Hilowitz said sales have increased after 4 p.m. since the alcohol addition, having increased by double digit percentages.

The new stores will have food to accompany the wine and beer, with selections like high-quality cured meats and other small plates. The Seattle-based company has also been testing live entertainment, like poetry readings, bands and live theatre.

The addition of alcohol will also be followed by a remodeling of stores, as Hilowitz said 40 Chicago stores were renovated by October, Starbucks' end of the fiscal year. Starbucks will also reportedly open as many as 10 stores and renovated another 100.

Starbucks first introduced the idea of including alcohol on their menu of coffee and tea back in July 2009, after the recession closed the doors of many chains and led to mass layoffs and declined sales. The idea to extend the brand became reality when it opened a store called 15th Ave. Coffee and Tea inspired by Starbucks in Seattle, which served bottles of beer and glasses of wine for $4 to $7.

Other business like Burger King have followed suit with Starbucks' alcohol addition. Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, told The Chicago Tribune Burger King is experimenting to offer beer at locations with Whopper Bars.

Tristano believes alcohol can cater to the kind of customer who isn't a coffee drinker. 

If Starbucks decides to include beer and wine on the menu in locations nationwide, it better continue to allow the public to use its bathrooms...

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