Starbucks rolls out beer and wine sales in Seattle store


Starbucks may soon be pouring wine and beer along with cappuccino. Image: Flickr / TinyTall / CC-BY-ND

At the East Olive Way Starbucks in Seattle, there will soon be a new addition to the menu. Starbucks will be offering both beer and wine. This new addition could be a smart business move — and a huge opportunity for Northwest producers.

Beer and wine at Starbucks

The E. Olive Way Starbucks store in Seattle began selling beer and wine yesterday. As of right now, this is the only Starbucks store with an expanded menu, but industry watchers expect that if it goes well, this could well be expanded to many stores. For Starbucks, the move makes a lot of sense. About 70 percent of Starbucks’ business comes in before 2 p.m. While the “treat receipt” push — which gave customers with a drink receipt from that morning a $2 drink after 2 p.m. — had some effect, the stores simply need more afternoon business. By selling beer and wine, Starbucks could very well bring in that much-needed afternoon business that would increase same-store sales.

An opportunity for Northwest producers

Starbucks’ move toward selling beer and wine is going to be a big opportunity for Northwest wineries and breweries. The E. Olive Way store is featuring wines from Ste. Michelle, Hedges Family Estate and other Northwestern vineyards. The beers offered include well-known Northwest brews. Much the way Starbucks introduced varietal coffees to the world, it could well introduce varietal wine and beer to a wider audience.

The question of cost of Starbucks beer and wine

There is, of course, the question of whether Starbucks will turn beer and wine into an even more expensive treat. Starbucks officials have been quoted as saying that even the best cup of coffee would cost less than a mediocre glass of wine. However, Starbucks has had a large hand in getting Americans to order a triple-shot no-foam double-chocolate mocha rather than just “coffee.” With $4 coffee drinks being normal, are customers going to need a no fax payday loan to pay for wine?


Beyond The Bottle