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The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that Starbucks is suspending its "Starbucks Evening" program, and will no longer sell beer and wine at more than 400 stores around the country.

Starbucks originally embraced the program - after a single-store test in Seattle - as a way of building traffic and sales in the evenings, and it hoped that alcohol and an expanded food menu would turn its stores into an evening magnet for consumers.

The Business Journal writes that the move seems aimed at using the space and time to focus on its "Reserve" business, which is designed to sell even more upscale and expensive coffee: "Starbucks also plans to open 1,000 or more Starbucks Reserve stores and have Reserve espresso bars – an espresso bar that makes coffee in a variety of different brewing methods – in at least 20 percent of existing and new Starbucks stores, Schultz has said."
KC's View:
I'm a little surprised by this - not because I thought that the selling of beer and wine was a surefire hit, but because I'm not yet persuaded that the Reserve program is going to be the enormous hit that Starbucks obviously believes it will be.

Guess they don't feel like they need to persuade me.

I continue to believe that this is a potentially risky play for Starbucks that depends on an economy that continues to grow and strengthen. If things go south at all, or just stall out, Starbucks coffee that costs even more than a venti latte does now may not be the most attractive thing on the market.

So I'm not persuaded. Then again, I could be wrong. And they don't need to persuade me.