SEATTLE, March 20 (UPI) -- Starbucks announced that it will sell bottled wine and beer at thousands of its locations in a program called Starbucks Evenings, but the booze will begin to flow only after 4 p.m.
The cafe chain, which spruced up its food and beverage offerings for lunch and late afternoons, is looking at attracting customers later in the evening and offering alcoholic drinks may just help that cause. Starbucks will offer only bottled beer and wine and not cocktails and the selection will reflect local taste preferences.
"The concept is a natural progression for Starbucks as we seek to create a new occasion for customers to gather, relax and connect with each other in the evenings," said spokeswoman Lisa Passe.
The company started selling beer in Seattle in 2010 and expanded that to 26 locations, but the new initiative will make beer and wine available across many more locations. The move will definitely help boost sales at stores. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said that a typical customer spends $5 at the cafe and liquor sales could easily boost these numbers.
"We are in the early stages of our growth and development," Schultz said. "If we're a 20-chapter book, we are only in chapter four or five."
Starbucks has said that wine and beer will be sold only by baristas over the age of 21 and that they will also offer new small plates to accompany the tipple. The program has already been tested at locations in Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Portland, Oregon, and Washington, D.C.