Coming Soon: Starbucks Refreshers

Update 4/25/12: Here’s our full review of Starbucks Refreshers – Strawberry Lemonade, Orange Melon, & Raspberry Pomegranate

Original Story 3/30/12:
Per Beverage Digest‘s “U.S. Beverage Results for 2011″ report, “the energy drink companies — Monster, Red Bull and Rockstar — each posted double-digit volume growth and gained share.”

Starbucks wants a part of that.

Starbucks Refreshers

Starbucks Refreshers

While the coffee powerhouse already has strong inroads to the coffee/energy space with their Doubleshot Energy products, they will be launching a new line called Starbucks Refreshers. According to the company, these drinks will “deliver thirst-quenching refreshment from real fruit juice and a boost of natural energy from a new source, green coffee extract.”

Three flavors are on tap at the launch of this new line: Raspberry Pomegranate, Orange Melon, and Strawberry Lemonade. Packaged in 12 oz cans, Refreshers are part of the North American Coffee Partnership that Starbucks has with Pepsi. Pepsi will be manufacturing and distributing Starbucks Refreshers beverages to be sold individually.  They are currently available and are slated to be available at more than “160,000 points of distribution” across the U.S.

A single can contains 60 calories. When I followed up regarding this claim with a Starbucks spokesperson, they noted that the Refreshers line uses Stevia as the primary sweetener. As noted in a USA Today article, each can contains 40 to 55 mg of caffeine. In comparison, a 12 oz can of Mountain Dew contains 54 mg of caffeine, while a 12 oz can of Red Bull contains a little over 155 mg. Unroasted green coffee is used to provide the caffeine, which Starbucks claims will provide a “mild and fresh flavor.”  Basically we’re talking about a rather gentle energy drink that’s on par caffeine-wise with what you’d find in many carbonated soft drinks.

On a side note, I wasn’t that big of a fan when Starbucks changed their logo, but it does look rather sharp on these cans!

For those interested in corporate-speak, the official press release is included below:

Starbucks Announces Beverage Innovation Using Green Coffee Extract with Starbucks Refreshers™ Beverage Platform

Targets $8 billion energy category bringing green coffee innovation to customers on a global scale

SEATTLE, March 21, 2012 – Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) today announced plans for a global entry into the energy category with Starbucks Refreshers™ beverages – making Starbucks the first to bring green coffee extract innovation to customers on a global scale. Starbucks Refreshers™ beverages are a breakthrough innovation that deliver thirst-quenching refreshment from real fruit juice and a boost of natural energy from a new source, green coffee extract. The new beverage platform gives the company an opportunity to introduce a completely new offering globally – yet another proof point of how Starbucks is executing its growth strategy.

“The launch of new products such as Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew, Starbucks® Blonde Roast Coffees and customizable Frappuccino are great examples of how we continue to leverage our coffee expertise. If anyone was going to innovate in coffee while delivering on an untapped energy and refreshment need state, it would be Starbucks,” said Annie Young-Scrivner, global chief marketing officer for Starbucks and president, Tazo Tea. “The energy category is the fastest growing category within measured CPG channels at $8 billion, up 16 percent over the last year. The launch of Starbucks Refreshers™ beverages continues to support our growth strategy to innovate with new products, enter new categories, and expand into new channels of distribution.”

The introduction of the Starbucks Refreshers™ beverages brand platform is an evolution of the coffee market using a new breakthrough coffee experience using green coffee extract, resulting in thirst-quenching, delicious, low calorie refreshment with a boost of natural energy from caffeine and fruit juice. Unlike the traditional process, the green coffee extract used in Starbucks Refreshers™ beverages is unroasted – resulting in a beverage with a mild and fresh flavor while still retaining naturally occurring caffeine. Made with green coffee extract from 100% arabica beans, customers will be able to experience Starbucks Refreshers™ beverages in multiple formats, making it easy to re-energize wherever they are.

Available now, customers can discover an innovation in energizing refreshment with ready-to-drink Starbucks Refreshers™ beverages at select grocery locations in the U.S. At 60 calories per 12 fl. oz. can, ready-to-drink Starbucks Refreshers™ beverages are available in Raspberry Pomegranate, Strawberry Lemonade and Orange Melon, in lightly sparkling, ready-to-drink form. By the end of April, customers will find ready-to-drink Starbucks Refreshers™ beverages at more than 160,000 points of distribution where they buy groceries in the U.S.