Starbucks unveiled their newest foray into bean juice with the release of millions of samples nationwide of Via, their version of instant coffee (www.starbucks.com/VIA/).
For now you can get free Via samples at your local Starbucks. There should be one within a few blocks of your house.
No matter what you think about Starbucks or instant coffee in general, I’m betting on this being a big hit financially. It should hit just the right price and convenience buttons.
My big question, though, is what will this do to their global brand? Starbucks is known for being very convenient and expensive. It’s not gas station coffee. It’s a pull-one-of those-big-bills-out-of-your-wallet kind of coffee. Yet people still buy it by the truckload. Will this new Via experiment somehow maintain Starbucks where they are or reduce them to the level of Dunkin’ Donuts?
Starbucks recently hit number 90 on Business Week magazine’s Best Global Brands listing. It’ll be interesting to examine that listing next year along with any change in the profit and loss for the fourth quarter of this year compared to earlier in the year.