Starbucks Introduces New Holiday Brew

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is launching its latest holiday drink on Tuesday: the Irish Cream Cold Brew.

The cold brew, mixed with Irish cream syrup, comes topped with vanilla sweet cream cold foam and cocoa powder.

Two years ago, Starbucks’ midseason addition to its holiday lineup was the Christmas Tree Frappuccino. But since then the coffee chain has turned its focus from the heavy blended drink to lighter iced drinks that entice customers to return to cafes.

Despite dropping temperatures, cold beverages continue to be popular with Starbucks’ customers. They make up more than half of Starbucks’ U.S. sales. The company has rolled out Nitro cold brew to all of its U.S. locations and introduced new flavors of popular iced drinks such as Refreshers.

But Starbucks is also betting on flavored cold brew as the caffeinated beverage gains steam with coffee drinkers.

In August, the coffee chain introduced the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, its first new pumpkin coffee drink since the introduction of the pumpkin spiced latte in 2003. The popularity of its cold drinks, including the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, added five percentage points to the 6% jump in U.S. same-store sales it logged during the fourth quarter.

Starbucks first introduced a cold brew holiday drink, the Spiced Sweet Cream Cold Brew, in 2016.

Compared with traditionally brewed coffee, cold brew usually has a less acidic taste and typically contains more caffeine than iced coffee. For example, Starbucks’ cold brew has 40 milligrams more caffeine than its iced coffee.

SBUX doffed 15 cents to $84.42