armchair cultural observation since 1995

Quotation: Starbucks, the gateway drug

“Starbucks was the gateway drug to specialty coffee. Customers tried it there first and then graduated to the often-superior products sold by indie shops. Even Duane Sorensen, owner of the proudly anti-corporate Stumptown Coffee in Portland, Oregon, concedes that Starbucks raised standards in the industry. Ward Barbee, publisher of the coffee publication Fresh Cup, is even more effusive. “Every morning, I bow down to the great green god for making all of this possible,” he told the Willamette Weekly in 2004. In short, Starbucks and indie shops grew up side by side. Indie shops learned from Starbucks’s retailing genius and built off its customer base. Then the indie shops left Starbucks in the dust.”

-Jacob Grier, in a Doublethink article titled “The rise (and fall?) of a Caffeine Empire.”

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