Starbucks to expand beer, wine locations

The company plans to offer alcohol and small plates at stores in Chicago and perhaps Southern California.

By Kim Peterson Jul 2, 2012 6:23PM
Starbucks (SBUX) has had success selling beer and wine at its stores in the Pacific Northwest. Stores that have started selling wine and beer at 2 p.m. report double-digit sales gains after 4 p.m., the company told The Seattle Times.

Now, Starbucks is ready to take the booze on the road. It's expanding beyond its home turf to bring alcohol to Chicago and maybe even Southern California.

Post continues below.
Last month, a Starbucks in Schaumburg, Ill., became the first cafe outside the Pacific Northwest to sell beer and wine, The Chicago Tribune reports. The concept is called Starbucks Evenings, and features baristas dressed in all black and a more comfortable, lounge-like atmosphere. Beer and wine are headed to a Starbucks location in Burr Ridge, Ill., later this month, reports Patch.com.

Seven Starbucks stores in the Pacific Northwest serve alcohol, Patch reports. The company spent a few years testing the concept there, and was confident enough in its success that it plans to expand to Atlanta and Southern California in addition to Chicago. About seven cafes in Chicago will offer beer and wine by year's end.

"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," Clarice Turner, a senior vice president at Starbucks, said in a statement to Nation's Restaurant News. "At select stores where it is relevant for the neighborhood, we are focused on creating an atmosphere where our customers can relax with a friend, a small bite to eat and a cup of coffee or glass of wine."

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