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Coffee franchise adds liquor to the list

February 2, 2012

Starbucks announced Jan. 23 that it will begin selling alcoholic beverages in addition to coffee drinks.–AP Photo

NATALIE MCELWEE
Staff Reporter

 

Starbucks may be changing its image from a coffee mug to a wine glass.

 

The company announced on Jan. 23 that, in response to customer’s requests, it will be expanding to more than just coffee in 2012.

 

According to Starbucks’ press release, it will now serve wine, beer and premium food in multiple locations in Atlanta, Southern California and the Chicago area by the end of the year.

 

Starbucks has slowly been adding liquor to its menu since 2010 in six establishments in Seattle and Portland.

 

“We’re pleased with the response of our customers to the introduction of wine, beer and premium food at several of our stores in the Pacific Northwest,” said Clarice Turner, senior vice president, U.S. Operations in a press release. “We’re excited to see how the idea translates to other markets.”

 

This decision to serve alcohol is receiving mixed reviews among Ruston citizens.

 

David Emfinger, intern at the Louisiana Tech Wesley Foundation, said he visits Starbucks frequently throughout the week and said he does not believes this will be a good move for the company.

 

“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he said. “I just feel like they’re going to limit their demographic. If they serve alcohol, customers will just go to a different coffee shop.”

 

Landon Meyer, barista at Starbucks, is in favor of this new addition to the company.

 

“I’m completely behind it,” he said. “When people come to Starbucks, they want to relax, which they can do with a beer. I don’t want coffee late at night. I don’t want to be jacked up.”

 

According to the press release, these select establishments will have wine and beer lists, which reflect the tastes of the local customers, and premium food which include savory snacks, small plates, and hot flatbreads.

 

Starbucks said it is trying to create a more welcoming and versatile environment for its customers.

 

“As our customers transition from work to home, many are looking for a warm and inviting place to unwind and connect with the people they care about.”

 

Although Meyer is for the new expansion, he said he is not so sure how this concept would apply to Ruston.

 

“I could see it in bigger cities like Nashville or New Orleans,” he said. “They’re starting it on the West Coast because it is more open to the concept.”

 

Andy Shows, barista at Crescent City Coffee, frequents Starbucks a couple times a month and supports the idea.

 

“It’ll be interesting because it’s something they do in Austin and other places,” he said. “They serve beer and alcohol as well as espresso.”

 

Shows said he believes many people in Ruston would not be open to the idea of alcohol in a coffee shop.

 

Shows said he believes that because of Ruston’s atmosphere people will see it as another bar.

 

“I think some people’s concerns are that it will be sleazy because people will come in and drink,” he said. “In my view, the atmosphere is still tamed because it is a coffee shop.”

 

Alcohol should not be served in large coffee franchises to start off this new trend, Shows said.

 

“I think we need a nice coffee shop that serves alcohol,” he said. “I think it needs to happen in a local coffee shop before it happens in Starbucks.”

 

Email comments to nkm003@latech.edu.

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