Starbucks to add handcrafted sodas

Starbucks Corp. wants to get in with the lunch crowd. The coffee giant announced Monday a new line of handcrafted sodas.

The company said that Fizzio sodas will hit about 3,500 Starbucks stores in the southern U.S. and Hawaii starting Tuesday. The carbonated concoctions come in three flavors: spiced root beer, ginger ale and lemon ale, made without artificial flavors, preservatives or high-fructose corn syrup.

“We have heard from our customers that they’re looking for more refreshing, cold beverages, especially during the warm summer months,” said Cliff Burrows, president of the Americas region.

The global coffee chain is also testing new sandwiches and said it will be adding more lunchtime options to compete with other chains such as Dunkin’ Donuts.

Burrows said prices for the new carbonated sodas will vary by location. A medium-sized Fizzio soda will cost $2.95 in Los Angeles, for example. By this time next year the company expects the sodas to be in every store across the country. The chain currently has about 11,600 U.S. locations.

Starbucks also sells Evolution Fresh juice, La Boulange pastries and Teavana tea, and analysts say tapping into the handcrafted drink trend could be another specialty beverage win for the company.

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