Here’s something that makes a lot of sense to me, at least on first reading. Starbucks plans to sell wine and beer at one of its stores in Seattle after testing the idea in two “concept” stores without the Starbucks name. The company says the wine and beer offerings will be part of “an enhanced coffee experience.” Here’s why it intrigues me: despite the wine bar craze of recent years, there still aren’t that many really good ones, at least not in New York and I’m sure in many other places. I often find myself having to travel some distance within the city to get to a wine bar with an interesting selection.
Although Reuters points out that there are no plans to expand the concept to other stores at this point, the mind wanders. What a chain like Starbucks has going for it is convenience. That said, if the idea gains traction and expands, the key will be to offer an eclectic, frequently updated selection of wines (and beers) that goes beyond the standard brands. That will mean putting a wine pro with a sophisticated palate in charge of the operation (I’m available), including and promoting regional wines (a New York state wine or two, for example, in New York stores) and training store staff to know what they’re talking about. You can read more details in Seattle Times.