February 05, 2015 - 7:00 AM
TORONTO - Fancy a glass of Pinot Grigio or a pint of cold pilsner? Soon, you won't have to look any further than your local Starbucks.
The world's largest coffee chain says it plans to serve wine and beer at some select Canadian locations by the end of the year.
The pilot program, called Starbucks Evenings, will offer customers a menu of wine, beer and small plates like olives, nuts and cheese after 4 p.m.
Specific locations for the program have yet to be confirmed, says Carly Suppa, a spokeswoman with Starbucks Canada.
The coffee giant first tried out the concept in one of its Seattle cafes in 2010 and has since expanded it to 30 more locations from Chicago to Los Angeles.
It's part of an aggressive push by the company to expand into a food destination rather than just a place for coffee. Starbucks already sells sandwiches, salads and specialty drinks but has been trying to capture more sales throughout the day, instead of just those seeking an early morning caffeine fix.
At select U.S. locations, customers can order from a menu of up to 10 different types of wines, including Italian Prosecco, Californian Chardonnay and Argentine Malbec. The evening menu also offers a variety of hot foods, such as chicken skewers, bacon-wrapped dates and truffle macaroni and cheese.
When the program was first launched, it was targeted towards women looking for a place to grab a quick bite to eat and a glass of wine after work without having to go to a bar or a restaurant.
"Say hello to a new way to enjoy Starbucks after 4 p.m. Drop in after work, with friends, after yoga, by yourself, after a long day or after a great day," says a promo for the menu on its website.
Starbucks says it will also launch a new bakery line in Canada called La Boulange with nine French-inspired pastries starting on March 3.
Founded in 1971 in Seattle, Starbucks now operates more than 20,000 stores around the world. The first Canadian location opened in Vancouver in 1987.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story: A previous version had incorrect information about when Starbucks began serving alcohol in U.S.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015