Starbucks Begins Testing In-Store Soda-Fountain Menu

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The coffee chain is now serving housemade spiced root beer, lemon ale, and ginger beer in select Austin and Atlanta shops, The Wall Street Journal reports. (Costs are "$2.45 for a tall, $2.95 for a grande and $3.45 for a venti.") The acquisition-hungry company recently bought Teavana and a San Franciscobased bakery in advance of diversifying its prepared food options and drink menu, and the soda experiment is its latest foray into expanding the brand well beyond the domain of the Frappuccino and into the realm of fast-casual restaurants. An analyst tells the paper that the "handcrafted" sodas are an attempt to bring in mid- to late-afternoon customers who may not want a fourth cup of coffee, but Starbucks actually wants your business morning, noon, and especially nights: This means serving things like truffle mac and cheese, bacon-wrapped dates, and even wine and beer in addition to espresso down the road. [WSJ, Earlier]