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Food & Drink

Starbucks to expand beer and wine sales

Starbucks Coffee Store

 (Reuters)

Starbucks is realizing that coffee and wine do mix, it hopes.   

The world's biggest coffee chain introduced beer and wine to a Seattle café in October 2010. Buoyed by that success, it announced plans Monday to sell booze in as many as 25 locations by the end of the year. It says it will focus on new or remodeled stores in California, Atlanta and Chicago. 

Starbucks, which has 10,700 U.S. cafes, will also sell fruit-and-cheese plates and focaccia with olive oil. Currently, beer sells for $5 and wine prices range from $7 to $9.

Reuters reports that some restaurant experts say that selling alcoholic beverages could anger community groups and complicate the company's operations.

"I think it creates more problems than it may be worth," Goldin said.

Clarice Turner, Starbucks' senior vice president of U.S. operations, told Reuters that many other restaurants sell beer and wine and that Starbucks is no stranger to venturing into new territory.

"It's just a natural place for people to connect and unwind," Turner said.

Other fast food chains have been expanding into other markets beyond their original concepts. 

McDonald's has opened its McCafe bistros with free Wi-Fi. and expanded its regular menus to include healthier options.  Dunkin' Donuts has introduced new food to lure folks after the morning hours.

Monday's news prompted thousands of comments on social media site Twitter from people excited  --and not so happy about the company's plans.

So what about you?  Leave us a comment below to let us know how do you feel about Starbucks trying to fill the happy hour slot.