Starbucks and Anheuser-Busch Team Up

Tea Wall detail.JPGIn the beverage world, there are few names bigger than Starbucks and Anheuser-Busch. The two dominate any discussion of coffee or beer respectively, but they’re now partnering up to help capture the market of a third beverage – tea. Specifically, Starbucks is looking to begin selling their Teavana line of teas as ready-to-drink specialty bottles in grocery stores around the world. They decided to partner with Anheuser Busch to handle the bottling aspect of the operation, and if spokespeople for both companies are to be believed, there is plenty of revenue to go around.

Tea is currently a billion-dollar market in the US, and Teavana was Starbucks’ biggest acquisition ever when they bought it for $630 million in 2012. The original retail strategy for the brand, which involved revamping the Teavana tea bars around the country, didn’t live up to the “$90 billion global market opportunity” that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz originally predicted.

Starbucks’ new partnership and strategy represent a significant pivot to the ready-to-drink market. They expect to release the new line in over 300,000 US supermarkets and convenience stores by next year. The move is also a possible save for Anheuser-Busch, who have seen sales and production suffer in the wake of the craft beer movement.

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The New Bubble Tea Trend Plays Nicely With Others

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Photo via Boba Guys/NPR.org

Whatever name you know it by, it’s likely you’ve seen Bubble (or Boba) tea offered in your major metropolitan area before. The Taiwanese beverage, which originated as a sweetened, milky tea with chewy balls of tapioca drunk through a wide straw, became popular in the United States in the early 2000s on college campuses and in Asian neighborhoods. That trend largely died down until recently, but seems to be coming back – and this time, it’s picking up steam by joining forces with other trends, from speakeasy bars to horchata (the sweetened Mexican beverage made from steeped rice or barley).

As Andrew Chau, co-founder of the popular chain Boba Guys explains, “If we’re going to bridge cultures, we want to bring the best of the West and the best of the East.” Boba Guys aims to win over coffee lovers and adventurous foodies with combinations like coffee mik tea, horchata boba tea, and Indian Chai.

For a more a adult version, there is Boba 7 – the “Boba Speakeasy” behind Los Angeles restaurant Soi 7. There, owner Elton Keung makes cocktails like the “bobagasm” with Irish Cream, Kahlua and honey boba, along with a number of nonalcoholic versions. It seems clear that it’s only a matter of time before the East Coast gets their own bubbly bar.

It can be hard to build long term success on a single trend, but flexibility and reinvention allow those trends to go farther – and expand some palates along the way.

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Tea Makes a Stir in New York City

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Christopher Day at EMP

In the past tea has not always been though of as a trendy drink but now the industry is noticing an increase in demand. Loose leaf teas from around the world, tea preparation classes and artisan teaware are now available from a myriad of online purveyors and tea salons. Chain stores are also popping up nationwide as Starbucks purchased Teavana in 2012 and now has expanded to 301 stores across the country. According to the Tea Association of the USA in 2014, Americans consumed over 80 billion servings of tea, or more than 3.60 billion gallons.

These days, tea is also making a stir in New York Restaurants.  New York’s elite are now offering extensive tea lists and some even offer matching tasting notes. Tea programs are now offered at Eleven Madison Park, Atera, Blanca and Betony providing diners a chance to experience some of the world’s best teas. Eleven Madison Park’s tea program currently offers a seasonal menu of 32 types of teas served by the pot. Christopher Day, the man behind Eleven Madison Park’s tea program told Eater “”tea represents more than a beverage meant to be drunk at the end of a meal…We regard it as with wine, spirits, and coffee — as something to be selected and prepared with the same attention to detail and concern for excellence as any aspect of the menu.”

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Iced Matcha Teas at MatchaBar

Fast causal concepts are also appearing across the city offering different variations of the beverage. Flushing’s Fang Gourmet Tea offers 70 teas at $5 to $10. In Williamsburg New Yorkers can enjoy the city’s first speciality matcha cafe at MatchaBar where they offer everything from classic matcha to specialty  seasonal drinks such as Iced Mint Matcha Lemonade.

To read more from the New York Times click here

Coffee & Tea Festival

The 9th annual Coffee & Tea Festival NYC will take place from Sat. 3/22-Sun 3/23 at the 69th Regiment Armory. Featured on Food Network’s Unwrapped, the festival will exhibit over 60 international tea and coffee varietals, and tastings will be available along with complementary (and complimentary) food. As per request, the 2014 lineup will showcase more coffee than prior years. Tickets are on sale now.

Starbucks’ Record-High EPS

Starbucks’ Q4 report showed a 37% percent increase in earnings per share, and revenue rose 13% to $3.8 billion, according to a company press release.

“The fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 capped off by far the best year in Starbucks’ 42-year history,” claimed Howard Schultz, chairman, president and CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company. “Our results were driven by disciplined, ongoing efforts to elevate the value and relevance of the Starbucks brand, continued innovation and the success of our efforts to deepen our connection to customers and communities around the world.”

The already omnipresent coffee conglomerate plans to open an additional 1,500 stores and get EPS in the $2.55 to $2.65 range in 2014. Things are only looking up for the lucrative company; Teavana, recently acquired by Starbucks, will open one-thousand tea bars over the next decade. Starbucks’ subsidiary Evolution Fresh entered a partnership with Whole Foods Market which will allow the supermarket chain to sell Evolution Fresh juice and Evolution Harvest snack bars.

Starbucks’ expansion to the tea, juice and snack markets will almost guarantee a long future of continued revenue growth.

Astoria Park is Car-Free August Sundays for Shore Fest

Shore Park in Astoria is going car-free for three Sundays in August.

The annual Shore Fest celebration returns to Queens this weekend. Each Sunday will have it’s own theme.

Aug. 4: We Heart Astoria is sponsoring a food festival featuring samples from local restaurants — including BareBurgerOvelia, and The Thirsty Koala, and City Harvest will be sponsoring a cooking demo for kids.

Aug. 11th: Astoria-based recycling group Build it Green! NYC is hosting arts and crafts for kids, a clothing swap, and a composting demo, and Socrates Sculpture Park is hosting a pinata making workshop.

Aug. 18th : Big River Jam, a lineup of live musical performances from local bands.

A full list of Shore Fest events is here.

Portola Coffee Lab Starts a New Take on Tea

Portola Coffee Lab is launching Seventh Tea Bar in early December. Named for the Chinese belief that tea is the seventh of seven necessities, a new concept has been developed by Jeff and Christa Duggan, roasters who opened their craft coffee bar Portola last year in Costa Mesa, California.

Seventh Tea Bar will be located next to their main location.

For the full story click here.