Interesting... the first encounter I had with a Starbucks that served alcohol was in Chicago on the corner of Diversey and Sheffield, which was one of the first alcohol serving test stores. The drug and alcohol treatment center I worked at was less than a two minute walk from this location. In a city whose streets are bustling with bars, liquor stores, and restaurants with outside seating, Starbucks was neutral/safe spot to hang out at. When they started serving alcohol it became a trigger to some who had to start going elsewhere.
Starbucks' experimental alcohol venture debuted in 2010.
Starbucks has announced that it is ending its experimental venture into serving alcohol in its U.S. stores. As of Jan. 10, the “Evenings” concept will no longer be available at the over 400 Starbucks locations nationwide that had adopted it. The concept debuted in Seattle in 2010 and has proven to be less popular than the company anticipated.
“Evenings,” which sold beer, wine, and “evening food” like truffle mac and cheese and bacon-wrapped figs, was available at the same store locations where you’d stop in the morning for your grande triple shot espresso, or where you’d camp out at a table in the afternoon for a business meeting or to get some work done. It involved table service, unlike the counter-only service available during the day.
Ultimately, “Evenings” proved unsuccessful for the brand, even though as recently as 2014, Starbucks executives told the Associated Press that it planned to sell alcohol in “thousands” of stores nationwide.
Customers will still be able to purchase alcohol at their high-end "Roastery" location in Seattle, according to AP. There, beans are roasted and packaged on site. Roastery, where customers will still be able to buy alcoholic drinks, is the brand’s attempt at appealing to millennial customers with a foodie bent. The coffee drinks are served with the same pride and panache that high-end cocktails are served in bars, perfect for a viral video or Instagram photo of the complex concoction.
While Starbucks often seems like it can’t fail at anything it does, with its ever-present locations on virtually every street corner, the ending of their Evenings program is an indication that perhaps people don’t want alcohol with everything, despite the many messages we get about our alcohol-saturated culture. It may seem that alcohol is ubiquitous, but consumers are sending the message that coffee shops are fine just serving the caffeinated beverages they specialize in.
This announcement is perhaps a welcome announcement for the sober people who tend to congregate at coffee shops because they find restaurant environments where alcohol is served to be triggering.
Author: Britni de la Cretaz