Starbucks’ second wine and beer market will be Portland, Oregon. The Seattle-based coffee giant currently has three wine/beer locations in Seattle which provide craft beer and regional wines in settings that differ from their traditional coffee houses. On tap, if you will, is a decision by Starbucks to go after the late-afternoon and evening crowd when sales of coffee drinks lag. Located in the Pearl District next to the famous Powell’s bookstore, an area for heavy evening foot traffic will no doubt entice people to pop in for a quick drink.
Starbucks’ first wine/beer format was introduced to Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood in October, 2010 with a definite local flare. Decor included old chalkboards from Seattle’s Garfield High School, University of Washington surplus store chairs, and antique store baubles. The Portland venue will be no different with a healthy dose of local artifacts, and a big push for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, leaving a small environmental footprint in a city that prides itself on it’s progressiveness.
“This is a town that knows wine and beer.” said Starbucks Regional Vice President Kris Engskov. “We’re going to make a big statement in that space.” There’s no question that Portland is savvy regarding wine and beer. Oregon Pinot Noir will most certainly be poured, along with any number of micro-brews that have put Portland on the map for beer connoisseurs. Along with pastries, a sit-down menu will be added with pasta, cheeses, and mini-dishes.
The jury is still out on the financial impact for Starbucks, (not that we’re worried they’re going under any time soon) but it’s probably a smart move. So, if you you’re in the neighborhood and don’t want to trudge across town to your favorite wine bar, duck into this Starbucks to check out some local wine/beer you haven’t tried. The up-side is that it’s yet another venue to showcase local wine/beer producers while not having a negative impact on mom-and-pop wine bars. Let’s hope they represent.