Restaurants

Starbucks will launch shaken iced espresso this spring as cold drinks drive sales

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Key Points
  • Starbucks said that it will introduce a shaken iced espresso drink this spring as part of a strategy to lure customers back to its cafes.
  • Cold drinks appeal to younger consumers and have fueled Starbucks' sales growth in recent years.
  • The company is holding its biennial investor day on Wednesday.
A Starbucks employee wears a facial covering while working in Dallas, Texas.
Ronald Martinez | Getty Images

Starbucks customers are enjoying their holiday coffee drinks now, but the chain announced a new drink to bring customers back to its cafes this spring: the shaken iced espresso.

The beverage will be made with espresso, brown sugar, and oat milk, which will become available nationwide at the chain's cafes in the spring as well. Starbucks' spring menu typically comes out in early March.

The shaken iced espresso exemplifies the company's innovation strategy over the last few years. It's turned away from Frappuccinos and hot beverages in favor of cold drinks, which have driven more than $1 billion in sales over the last three years. COO Roz Brewer said at the company's biennial investor day Wednesday that the company's cold beverage sales have grown by nearly 45% in the past four years. This fall, its Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew even outsold the Pumpkin Spice Latte, its signature autumnal drink.

Brewer said that the new drink is meant to appeal to health-conscious consumers through its inclusion of oat milk, which has seen its retail sales more than quadruple in 2020. And millennials and Gen Z consumers prefer cold beverages.

Shares of Starbucks, which has a market value of nearly $118 billion, closed Wednesday at $100.40, down 0.8%. The stock is up 14% so far this year, fueled by good news about coronavirus vaccines. In extended trading, shares rose more than 3% after the company shared its long-term outlook, predicting a strong rebound to sales after the pandemic.

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