Friday, 11 April 2014

Would Wine Work in a Coffee Shop?

Industry experts have heard this week that coffee chains such as Starbucks are planning to feature wines on their evening menus. Considering the typical atmosphere of the traditional coffee shop, is this something that could ever work?

At the Ideal Wine Company we know that financially, this would be a very viable move for the wine industry. Take Starbucks as our example. They’re everywhere. They’re in every town centre and on every high street. If they began offering wine then growers bank balances would probably double overnight.

In fact this is the case as Starbucks have already started offering, in some cases, wine or beer on their evening meals. They plan to introduce more of this into more of their chains. Other coffee shops in the US state of Arizona such as Urban Beans, 32 Shea, Sip Coffee & Beer House, Lux and Cartel Coffee Lab have already caught onto this trend, according to local news sources.

It’s a growing thing over in the states and logic dictates that it would only be a matter of time until coffee chains here in the UK follow. But would UK consumers really be interested? Almost any idea can work in a culture as vast as the US, and it’s one that’s been common in the EU for a while, but that doesn’t mean it’ll translate over here. 

Despite what most people think, Britain is in fact the birthplace of the modern coffee house. They were first established in the capital in the early days of Empire and the nations coffee houses actually acted as the country’s first stock exchanges. It’s a strong and robust tradition and the modern coffee house experience is one that could be conductive to wine and beer sales.

However we also have pub culture. Pub culture is a very uniquely British thing and it’s the reason why alcohol sales in coffee houses have never really been a thing before. Whilst over in the states alcohol is only sold in rowdy bars, in Britain, consumers already have a choice between high energy bars and more sedate pubs.

Basically; the nature of the local pub and of the local coffee house have some crossover in the British psyche and this is a reason why any such move might not work in a British market. However the nature of luxury wines, that aren’t often sold in pubs, means that they could be sold in coffee houses more effectively.

At the Ideal Wine Company we recognise that this industry is one that is fuelled on creativity and innovation. Whether this idea works or not, it is certainly an intriguing one that we’ll be keeping tabs on it as it blossoms.