If Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) has it their way, it will soon be just as common to walk into a Starbucks store and order handcrafted soda as it is to walk in and order a venti coffee.
At the moment, the handcrafted sodas are only available in stores in Atlanta and Austin. The sodas are made using a carbonation machine and currently come in several flavors such as lemon ale, spiced root beer, and ginger ale. While prices vary by market, the sodas will be priced somewhere around $2.45 for a tall, $2.95 for a grande, and $3.45 for a venti.
Starbucks is interested in pushing its brand beyond coffee products, and the new soda products represents one such move. In 2011, Starbucks dropped the words “Starbucks coffee” from its logo, and the company has been focused on extending the brand so that it is known for drinks other than coffee.
In 2011, Starbucks bought Evolution Fresh Inc., a juice making company, for $30 million. In 2012, Starbucks bought Teavana Holdings Inc, a tea retailer, for $620 million along with Bay Bread, which is the operator for La Boulange bakeries.
Starbucks has also been pushing their tea products as tea in general has seen a resurgence over the last several years. Having grown 32 percent since 2007, domestic tea sales are expected to grow to $18 billion over the next two years, up from $15.7 billion. As a result, Starbucks has expanded its Tazo Tea business and is opening their first ever Tazo Tea shop.
The new sodas, along with the other moves Starbucks has made over recent years, appear to be aimed at trying to get more customers into their stores during off-peak hours. The afternoon especially is a time frame that Starbucks is hoping to access as most customers are more likely to head into its stores in the morning for coffee and breakfast snacks.
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