Starbucks taking Via Ready Brew global

by Eric Schroeder
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SEATTLE — Starbucks Corp. said it will expand sales of its Via instant coffee overseas this spring, beginning with the March 8 launch of the product in the United Kingdom. In addition, the company will launch the drink in all 870 Japan Starbuck’s locations on April 14 under the Starbucks Via Coffee Essence label.

Starbucks launched Via Ready Brew in the United States and Canada last fall, and the product is now available in nearly 15,000 locations, including Starbucks stores, Costco, Target, and REI stores. The company said it plans to double distribution of Via to 30,000 locations by the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2010 by selling the product through grocery stores and other mass-merchants.

On March 9, Starbucks will add Via Ready Brew Decaffeinated Italian Roast in its Canadian outlets. The variety has been offered in the United States since late last year.

“Starbucks Via continues to excite customers and represents a significant opportunity for the company to expand our reach through a broadened coffee portfolio,” said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Consumers have quickly adopted Starbucks Via as their coffee while on the go. Whether it is brewed as a single cup before leaving the house, while traveling, or at the office, customers have found it is a convenient solution.”
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