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Starbucks Japan Celebrates 25th Anniversary with Special Prefectural Frappuccinos
Leading global coffee chain Starbucks celebrates 25 years in the Japanese market in 2021, and to mark this important anniversary, their Japanese outlets are selling a special Frappuccino…more specifically, 47 special Frappuccinos.
In June 2021, Starbucks Japan introduced their 47 Jimoto Frappuccino line of limited-edition drinks. Every prefecture in Japan gets a unique beverage that was on sale for the summer, with all of them featuring flavors associated with the region. For example, Aomori Prefecture received an apple-flavored Frappuccino, while Yamanashi Prefecture sold a grape version, both reflecting famous local produce.
It’s the second phase of a three-phase plan the company is rolling out to celebrate the anniversary. In the spring, Starbucks Japan sold limited-edition merchandise celebrating the occasion, while later in 2021 they’ll introduce the final phase featuring sustainable goods and services.
It’s an appropriate tribute for a coffee chain that arrived in Japan in 1996, and in the decades since has expanded to every corner of the country, helping kick off a 21st century revival in coffee and becoming a staple of life in the nation.
Starbucks started in the spring of 1971 in the city of Seattle. After gaining attention on the west coast of the United States, the chain expanded rapidly in the 1990s. It has become one of the largest retail chain restaurants in the world, with over 21,500 stores in 64 countries.
That includes Japan, which became a sensation after the first Starbucks opened in Ginza, Tokyo in 1996. Rather than run an elaborate advertising campaign, Starbucks simply rested on their buzzed-about brand. It worked, with even casual coffee drinkers flocking to newly opened stores in major cities.
Starbucks has become the most popular coffee brand in the country, with over 1,200 stores across the country. In 2015, a Starbucks opened in Tottori Prefecture. That was the last part of Japan to not have an outlet, and the opening drew over a thousand fans to the coffee spot.
The American-born chain has become much more popular than Japanese competitors such as Doutor, along with other international brands such as Tully’s.
Beyond being a reliable place to get a cup of joe, Japanese Starbucks have developed a reputation for particularly beautiful architecture and creative approaches to theming. For example, spots in Kyoto and Kawagoe are modelled after ancient Japanese stores, complete with tatami and wood.
The 47 Jimoto Frappuccino was, according to the company, conceived by employees, who wanted to show their gratitude to consumers across the country. They thought up the unique beverages representing every prefecture, from a melon-centric Frappuccino for Ibaraki to a hojicha and white chocolate out of Nara.
People have embraced the promotion. Offerings have become popular, with some selling out everyday. YouTubers and other social media influencers have begun documenting their quest to drink as many of the prefectural Frappuccinos as possible, reviewing and ranking them in the process.
Whether they can enjoy them all or not, it shows just how beloved the company has become in Japan.
Key Words and Expressions
- outlet — a shop that sells the goods of a particular company
- be on sale — being available in shops
- produce (noun) — food or any other substance that is obtained through farming
- advertising campaign — specifically planned sales promotion activities
- competitor — a person, team or company that one is competing against
- reputation — recognition or evaluation by people
- employee — a worker who is hired by a company
- consumer — a person who buys goods or services
- sell out — to sell something until the goods are out of stock
- social media influencer — a social media content maker who has a big influence on people
Reading Comprehension Test
- Why is Starbucks releasing the 47 Jimoto Frappuccino now?
a. They opened their 2,000th store in Japan.
b. They opened their first store in Tottori, the last prefecture without a Starbucks.
c. They are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their Japanese operations.
d. They are collaborating with YouTubers to find out popular flavors.
- Where did the first Starbucks in Japan open?
- Which of the following is true?
a. The Ibaraki Frappuccino features the taste of grapes.
b. YouTubers and influencers are documenting their efforts to drink them all (47 Jimoto Frappuccinos).
c. The special Frappuccino varieties have been less popular than expected, rarely selling out.
d. Customers thought of the flavors for this series (the 47 Jimoto Frappuccino series).
- What is special about the 47 Jimoto Frappuccino series?
- What did Starbucks do to get popular in the 1990s?