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Starbucks Coffee and Jim Beam Brands have announced a development and distribution agreement to develop, manufacture, and market a Starbucks-branded premium coffee liqueur product in the U.S. The product will be tested in two U.S. markets later this year.
The premium coffee liqueur product will be available for sale at licensed establishments, such as restaurants, bars, and retail outlets where premium distilled spirits are sold. The product will not be sold in Starbucks retail stores.
"Extending the Starbucks brand into new channels is part of our long-term growth strategy," said Orin Smith, Starbucks president and CEO. "Many of our customers already enjoy coffee liqueur and would consider a Starbucks-branded coffee liqueur to be best-of-class.
Developing and manufacturing products with Starbucks coffee as an ingredient is not new for Starbucks. In 1995, the company formed an alliance with Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream to introduce Starbucks Ice Cream. In 1996, Starbucks, through a partnership with Pepsi-Cola Company, introduced the bottled Starbucks Frappuccino coffee drink. Today, Starbucks bottled Frappuccino and Starbucks DoubleShot coffee drinks have nearly a 90 percent share of the U.S. ready-to-drink coffee market.
Jim Beam is a powerful partner for Starbucks. Its current brands include the namesake bourbon, Knob Creek small-batch bourbon, and DeKuyper Pucker cordials, among others.