Starbucks to expand evening alcohol sales; plans Oprah chai tea

Seattle – Starbucks plans to expand a pilot of an evening alcohol and “light bites” menu that includes wine to thousands of stores nationwide. At the company’s annual shareholder meeting, Starbucks executives said the evening food and drink offerings, currently provided in about 40 test stores, will be rolled out during the next several years.

Starbucks does not plan to offer alcohol in all stores, but will focus on stores in urban areas near stores and theaters where consumers will likely be out at night. Alcohol is currently offered in test stores in the Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle and Southern California markets. The food portion of the evening menu, which begins after 4 p.m., includes truffle macaroni and cheese, chicken skewers, Chardonnay and chocolate fondue.

In addition, Starbucks announced a collaboration with media mogul Oprah Winfrey to create Teavana Oprah chai tea. Beginning April 29, Oprah Chai will be sold at Starbucks and Teavana stores across the U.S. and Canada, with a donation from each product sold going to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation.

“With the introduction of Teavan Oprah Chai, we are going to elevate the tea experience the way we did for coffee,” said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and CEO of Starbucks.

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