Sixteen Valley Starbucks locations apply for liquor licenses

Valley Starbucks shops are looking to add some spunk to their late-night menus.

Across the state, 16 Starbucks locations have applied for liquor license through the Arizona Department of Liquor. This is an expansion of the chain’s latest national branding effort, called Starbucks Evenings, in which the coffee shop serves wine and craft beers along with small platters.

Lee Hill, communication director for the department of liquor, said the Seattle-based chain has applied for a restaurant liquor license, which would allow the business to sell alcohol only within the coffee shop walls.

“The Starbucks applications that we’ve gotten so far are restaurant licenses and that permits the licensee only to sell on-site,” Hill said. “There is no permission to have to-go liquor.”

Hill said this might cause Starbucks to rethink their staffing, as Arizona liquor law states persons under the age of 19 cannot serve alcohol.

Hill also said the shops will be required to meet a quota of food sales to alcohol sales to maintain their license. The license requires a food-to-alcohol ratio to be 40 percent to 60 percent.

“There are two components here: We’ve got the business decision on Starbucks’ part and we have Arizona liquor law,” Hill said. “Starbucks will have to make the decision as how they staff their locations. It’s as simple as that.”

The department has until January to make a final decision on the applications.