Starbucks has revealed that several of their Chicago store locations will serve beer and wine after 2:00 pm — but you’ll have to wait until later this year to take advantage.
At first, I didn’t really have an opinion about this news, but that changed the more I thought about it. I enjoy going out for a drink with my girlfriends every now and again, but I have to admit I don’t love the “bar scene” all the time. Maybe it’s just the old lady inside, but they’re just too dark and the music is usually too loud to carry on a conversation.
Don’t get me wrong, if I want to drink and dance, then a bar is just dandy. However, if I want a glass of wine or a beer after work on a week night with a few friends, you won’t find me in a bar. I would prefer the calm scene of a coffee shop to chit-chat and relax after a long, hard day. Along with the comfortable atmosphere, coffee shop get-togethers allow people of any age to hang out together. So if you want to be with younger friends or family and have a beer while you’re there, then it’s not a problem.
Some Starbucks stores have been serving alcoholic drinks in select West coast locations since mid-2009, and so far they have received a lot of positive feedback for it. Not all locations will serve alcoholic drinks (at least, not at first) and the announcement applies only to select high-traffic locations. Some new stores will be built and some existing stores are going to be renovated.
The idea to serve beer and wine started when Starbucks’ customers asked for the option to have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine in the evenings. It’s so refreshing to know Starbucks is actually listening to what their customers want and that they’re taking action.
The evening traffic that alcoholic drinks will bring in is another perk for the coffee chain. Some people just don’t like coffee or only drink it in the morning for the jolt of caffeine. Starbucks is smart to cash in on the potential profits from the people who want the coffee house atmosphere at night, but don’t necessarily want the coffee. And along with the new beverages, Starbucks will have small plate options to accompany the beer and wine, like almonds, high-quality cured meats, and bread with olive oil.
Since Starbucks is a gourmet coffee house with their own blend of coffee beans, it makes me wonder what type of beer and wine they would sell. Because it’s a new idea for them and it’s a bit of a gamble, I think it would be best if they sold high-quality beer and wine that people already know. I don’t think it should be like a traditional bar with every type of beer known to man, but they may benefit from carrying a few exotic flavors and brands you can’t just pick up anywhere. The wine selection should be small, too. They should have a variety of reds and whites — some sweet and some dry — but just enough to cover the basic taste palates. Eventually, maybe they could manufacture their own brand of beer and wine…but for now, they’d probably be better off using already-established brands.
I think that alcoholic drinks at Starbucks is a great idea with lots of potential for business expansion, and I think people will respond positively to it. As long as they stay true to their coffee roots and keep the same business principles, they can only move up. Right?
How do you think Starbucks will do with their new beverages in the evenings? Do you think Chicago will respond well to the new idea or will it flop? Would you prefer the atmosphere of a coffee house while enjoying a glass of wine or beer with friends? Let us know in the comments below!