Starbucks to start serving wine and beer

Is the world’s largest coffee chain turning into a bar?

The marketing move started in 2010, and reflects the coffee establishment’s growth into a new era. It wants to recast itself in the image and likeness of European cafes, which in Paris and Italy apparently offer a selection of both in addition to coffee and pastries.

As you probably remember, Starbuck’s shuttered thousands of stores back in 2008, thanks to a vast growth spurt that didn’t prove financially viable for the Seattle-based company. Clearly looking for another path for growth, it looked to expand its cafe atmosphere to mirror something abroad in hopes Americans would respond.

One of its Seattle stores piloted the move to purchase of wine and beer, as well as cheese and fruit platters, after 4:00 p.m. back in October of 2010. Several other locations were added in this test period and were so popular the company decided to test a few more markets.

I went to to try to locate what stores will allow us to belly up to the bar, you know, just in case any of them were within 250 miles of here. Like you, I am curious if the world’s most expensive cup of coffee will translate into the world’s most expensive glass of wine or mug of beer. A cursory search shows nothing on the website but coffee, sweet treats, sandwiches, and bottled coffee drinks. I couldn’t find any listing of wine or beer, or stores serving either.

Of course, there are plenty of critics to this expansion. A website dedicated to hating Starbucks has been attracting comments all week.

According to the Associated Press, stores in Seattle and Portland serve both, and test markets are scheduled for Southern California, Atlanta and Chicago. 

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