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Starbucks to Serve Booze at (a Few) More Stores

The coffee giant is cautiously increasing the number of cafes offering beer and wine.

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Starbucks beer: a tad incongruous? Photo via

By Will Godfrey

01/23/12

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Starbucks—the ubiquitous coffee-shop chain which first served alcohol in a Seattle store in October 2010—is (very) slowly expanding the boozy side of its business. Currently, six cafes in Seattle and Portland, Oregon serve beer and wine. But by the end of this year, according to a statement released today, you'll be able to opt for alcohol instead of your usual venti mochaccino at up to 25 venues in places like Chicago, Atlanta and Southern California. According to Senior VP of US Operations Clarice Turner, the participating stores have been "carefully selected," and generally have more seating than average—presumably to avoid potential clashes between the differing mindsets of the wired and the wasted. And after all, 25 cafes out of 10,700 in the US is hardly a high percentage. In an apparent effort to raise the tone, stores serving alcohol will also offer nibbles in the form of fruit-and-cheese plates and focaccia with olive oil. You sense the Starbucks hierarchy is a little twitchy about how the move might strike loyal customers: “It won’t be at every Starbucks store ever,” stresses Turner.

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