Ventis and Vinos – Starbucks Introducing a Little Happy Hour

Happy Hour starts at 4!

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In a pilot project launching this year, coffee giant Starbucks will be serving beer and wine at select Canadian locations. The project is titled “Starbucks Evenings” and has already been introduced by the company to American coffee shops. The “Evenings” menu also offers h’orderve style pairings with your beverage such as chicken skewers and bacon-wrapped dates.

The Evenings project is a great way to boost sales during low traffic hours. Typically a location will receive 70% of it’s daily business before 2 pm. Alcohol adds to Starbucks expanding selection of products (baked goods, sandwiches, iTunes cards). Starbucks7The company has been working hard to position itself as more than just a morning stop for a cup of joe, and is becoming a multi-service store. In the past few years, the dominating coffee company has been battling fast food chains who are competing with their own coffees. McCafe – McDonald’s successful bean brand is sneaking in as a close second to Starbs.

The US stores providing the Evenings menu have seen substantial success and experts are not worried about failure here in Canada. But some Canadian consumers have concerns. Based on online commentaries, some people don’t feel booze melds with the Starbucks atmosphere. Won’t customers who’ve had “one too many” disrupt the cafe vibe? Or even the boozy smell could off-put those expecting the rich coffee aroma we are used to. Others fear baristas aren’t equipped to be discerning IDers, or are uncomfortable with alcohol being more readily available and “to-go”.

The locations for the pilot project will be confirmed later this month, but they will most likely be based in major city centres such as Toronto. The company alludes that the project will be popular among their main target, women, who will prefer goat cheese flatbread and a glass of wine in a cozy coffee shop over the bar.

wine-tasting-tips-650x406I am trying to be unbiased, but as a twenty something who loves goat cheese and who could take or leave the bar scene, it sounds like my cup of…coffee.

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Battle of the Beers

Throughout the Olympic games in Sochi, beer giant Molson has taken shots at fellow brewer Budweiser. Most recently making reference to Budweiser’s latest marketing effort (a giant blimp) in this text ad below.

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Budweiser Canada is not an official Olympic sponsor, unlike it’s American business unit who is sponsoring Team USA. blimpThe Budweiser Canada brand is aggressively attempting to associate itself with hockey during the games, which has left a bad taste in Molson’s mouth. Molson is Canada’s official beer sponsor for the games and wants Budweiser to butt out. Molson ran a print ad this previous week in the Globe and Mail asking “Bud, which side are you on?”. It exposes Budweiser’s contradictory support of both Team USA and Team Canada. The print ad has gained a multitude of “likes” and “retweets” on social media. Surprisingly, Budweiser has not responded to these attacks in any way.

In light of Budweiser cancelling it’s popular Bud Club party at the Sochi games due to fears of security threats, Molson has swooped in with a clever marketing ploy. The brewer introduced a beer fridge only accessible to Canadians. bmolsonLocated at the Canadian Olympic House, the fridge can only be opened by Canucks after it scans their passports for authenticity. This concept was first introduced in a commercial released over the summer of 2013 in anticipation for the Winter games.