Brews and Booze
Starbucks recently announced it will serve regional wine and beer, starting in its home city of Seattle. In an experimental trial, the company renovated a store in Seattle’s busy Capitol Hill area and stocked it with new beverage offerings as well as a selection of local cheeses. In addition to the new menu, the barista bar has been rebuilt to seat customers closer to the coffee.
USA TODAY mentioned that the revamped store looks less like a Starbucks and more like a cafe that’s been part of the neighborhood for years. Muted color palettes, dim lighting and an overall low-key design seem to contradict the entire Starbucks brand.
From the bright green logo to the unique language spoken when ordering drinks, Starbucks has always distinguished itself from other coffee shops. Why then after years of standing out, would Starbucks want to fit in?
Scott Bedbury, marketing chief for both Starbucks and Nike in the 1990s, told USA TODAY that evolution is critical for Starbucks and that wine sales could bring in “latte-like” profits. “Brands have to evolve or die,” he said. “It’s a tall order. But if anyone can pull it off, it will be Starbucks.”
Bedburry is not alone in thinking evolution is critical. Other brands such as Belk underwent major changes this year. For now caffeinated customers across the country will have to wait and see if Starbucks stores in other cities will get a makeover similar to Seattle. I wonder if wine will come in Tall, Grande and Venti sizes?