Starbuck’s Turning Japanese

Seattle, Wash. — Starbuck’s Corporation announced today that it will enter the ready-to-drink coffee category in Japan and Taiwan. The combined ready-to-drink market in these countries represents more than U.S. $10 billion in total annual consumer sales. In March, agreements were signed with Starbuck’s local business partners and major distributors in both countries to manufacture and distribute a Starbuck’s-branded premium ready-to-drink coffee. Starbuck’s plans to enter the category in the chilled segment.

In Japan, Starbuck’s has entered into an agreement with Suntory Ltd., one of the leading Japanese producers and distributors of food and beverages, for the manufacture and distribution of coffee ready-to-drink products in Japan. Starbuck’s Coffee Japan, Ltd., which has operated Starbucks stores in Japan since 1996, will provide ongoing consulting support including local brand and marketing expertise for the Japanese market. This support complements Starbuck’s coffee expertise and experience in the ready-to-drink coffee category in the United States and Canada.

In Taiwan, Starbuck’s has entered into a distribution agreement with President Starbuck’s Coffee Taiwan Limited, the Company’s joint venture partner in Taiwan, for marketing and distribution of the new product. The product for Taiwan will be manufactured by Uni-President Enterprises Corporation, one of the largest food and beverage companies in the country.

“Extending the Starbuck’s brand into new distribution channels is part of our long-term growth plans,” said Gerry Lopez, president, Starbuck’s Global Consumer Products. “The success we have had bringing bottled Starbuck’s Frappuccino coffee drink and Starbucks DoubleShot espresso drink to consumers in channels outside of our retail stores in the United States and Canada demonstrates our potential worldwide. Our decision to take this first step to expand into the consumer products channel in Asia is a result of strong worldwide acceptance of the Starbucks brand as part of people’s daily lives.”

Starbuck’s has a proven track record of creating successful coffee-related products. Through a joint venture with Pepsi-Cola Company, in 1996 the Company introduced bottled Starbuck’s Frappuccino coffee drink and later Starbuck’s DoubleShot espresso drink. To date, these Starbucks coffee innovations remain the No. 1 products in their respective segments of the ready-to-drink coffee category in the United States.