By Catherine Bonke
New changes are coming to the most popular coffee shop chain in America and a staple for college life: Starbucks. Within the next few years, alcohol will be available for purchase at nearly 2,000 locations.
“Alcohol is a product that sells and attracts people,” said Lucas Gonzlez-Rivas, a freshman international student from Spain.
The Starbucks locations on campus will not serve alcohol according to Angela Agnello, the director for marketing and communications at Stony Brook’s Faculty Student Association (FSA). The university’s alcohol policy states that on campus events and businesses must obtain a State Liquor Authority and a Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control permit.
“As demonstrated by the extensive use of Starbucks by students under 21 years of age at all times of the day, it is important for Starbucks to be open to all students,” Agnello stated in an email.
Not all students were opposed to the idea of having happy hour at their favorite morning coffee stop. Connie Chiu, a senior psychology major said she comes to Starbucks twice a day.
Chiu agreed it would attract more customers and “boost the economy.” While some businesses fail at expanding beyond their traditional product sales, Chiu stated, “If you’re Starbucks, it won’t be such a drastic change.”
Tom Hurson, freshman Chemical Engineering feels that the menu expansion will cause too much of a split market.
“No,” he said. “You don’t go to Starbucks to get a glass of wine. No. No. I don’t see it lasting.”
Alcohol may cause a drastic change in the relaxed atmosphere in many look for at Starbucks. Having potentially intoxicated people may turn off Starbucks’ throng of devoted coffee addicts, people who search for a quiet place to study or families with small children. New formulas for alcoholic beverages would have to be taught to staff that may need to be siphoned down to workers 18 years or older, at least at evening locations. In New York State, individuals must be at least 18 years of age to serve alcohol.
There are no evening locations close to Stony Brook or even on Long Island yet, but with the tremendous presence of Starbucks in the area, it won’t be long until devoted fans will be able to get more than a caffeine hype from their neighborhood location.