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According to a USA Today story and video, a Starbucks lab store in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood re-opened this Monday after a three-month redesign. In an effort to evolve the 40-year-old brand and boost evening business (since Starbucks does 70% of sales before 2:00pm), the new location is serving booze. That’s right. You could soon be ordering Ventis of local wine and craft beer.
Each new store will be LEED certified, meaning the building meets standards by the U.S. Green Building Council. But the locavore-friendly theme doesn’t stop with energy-efficient lighting. According to a corporate rep in the video, Starbucks will work with communities to find recycled materials and partner with local artists. The new Seattle store is furnished with chairs salvaged from the University of Washington campus and a table made from flooring from a local high school. Burlap sacks once used for Starbucks coffee decorate the walls.
Along with alcohol as a new menu item, Starbucks will add savory dishes like local cheese plates and cured meats served on china instead of plastic. They also have plans to host performances by local performers. If the lab store does well, Starbucks could be turning more of their locations nationwide into similarly redesigned neighborhood coffee-house/bars.
What do you think about Starbucks carrying regional craft beer as well as lattes and pastries? Can you see yourself winding down in one of their renovated locations?
UPDATE: What’s on the new Starbucks store’s beer list after the jump.
The pilot store currently has three bottled beers: Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Pyramid Hefeweizen, and Peroni. Peroni is an Italian beer owned by South Africa-based beer giant SABMiller and imported by MillerCoors. Pyramid is a Seattle brand but was recently purchased by Rochester-based North American Brewers, owners of Labatt. Deschutes Mirror Pond is an award-winning pale ale from a well-respected independent Oregon brewery. The small and questionable selection is lackluster to hopeful craft beer fans for sure, but many are likely to think it is better than Starbuck’s last attempt at selling beer. What do you think?