Starbucks has started a pilot program in the U.S. (beginning with some Seattle, WA, Atlanta, GA and Austin, TX stores) to offer “Handcrafted Sodas” aka Italian Sodas. Using an in-store carbonating machine, carbonated water is combined with flavours such as Lemon and Root Beer, as well as Ginger Ale, to create Italian Sodas.
Pricing seems in-line with current Starbucks drinks, at $2.45 for a tall, $2.95 for a grande and $3.45 for a venti.
The move seems to be aimed at bringing customers in the early-afternoon hours, when the traffic dies down just after lunch. Offering some caffeine-free iced drinks may be just the key to attracting people in on hot days, who may not want another shot of caffeine for the day.
Also on the menu for that time of the day is their “Green Coffee Extract” drinks, known as “refreshers”. Using green coffee beans and flavoured syrups, the Refreshers have become mildly popular but sit at a higher price point than the Handcrafted Sodas will.
It’s not yet known whether the Italian Sodas (officially being called “Handcrafted Sodas”) will be expanding beyond the couple of test stores, only time will tell.