R&D Insider

Developer’s Snapshot
Collaborators: Jim Beam Brands, Deerfield, Ill., and Starbucks Coffee Co., Seattle
Beverage: Starbucks Coffee Liqueur
Goal: To extend the Starbucks brand into new, after-hours occasions
Jim Beam Brands and Starbucks Coffee Co. last month rolled Starbucks Coffee Liqueur into nationwide distribution, following a successful test market phase in Denver and Austin, Texas. The product, which will not be available at Starbucks coffee houses but through bars, restaurants and retail stores, extends the Starbucks brand to a new category of beverage, and also expands category expectations for coffee liqueurs.
“Extending the usage occasion for Starbucks coffee is not new for Starbucks,” says Aaron Brost, spokesman for Jim Beam Brands. “In the past, the company has introduced Starbucks-branded products such as Starbucks coffee ice cream, bottled Frappuccino and Starbucks DoubleShot espresso drink. Creating a Starbucks-branded coffee liqueur is an additional way to extend the Starbucks experience into restaurants, bars and homes.”
According to the companies, Starbucks consumers are higher-than-average consumers of liqueurs. In fact, 50 percent of frequent Starbucks customers consume coffee liqueurs, according to their research. Starbucks Liqueur, which has a target consumer of men and women ages 25 to 54, was developed with a premium image in mind. “The price point, branding and marketing of this product are directed toward mature consumers who seek premium products,” says Brost.
To that end, packaging played an important part in the product. The dark color of the glass was intended to convey a rich coffee flavor, and the shape was inspired by a cocktail shaker to help communicate the mixability of the product. It is available in three sizes — 50-ml., 750-ml. and 1.5-liters — and retails for an average price of $22.99 per 750-ml. bottle.
The liqueur itself is made from 100 percent Starbucks coffee, and was formulated to be highly mixable, with the hope of expanding coffee liqueur into new usage occasions.
“Jim Beam is positioning the product beyond the traditional cordial profile,” says Brost. “Rather than a traditional ‘after-dinner’ liqueur, Starbucks Coffee Liqueur is an ideal ingredient in a martini, tall drink or mixed drink.”