The Forgotten Precursor To Starbucks' Bottled Frappuccino

These days, you can't swing a canvas tote bag without hitting a Starbucks. Any city-dweller is liable to drive past a dozen or so in the course of a single day's commute. For goodness' sake, they've even built Starbucks locations across the street from other Starbucks locations, a strategy that Launi Skinner, former-senior vice president in charge of store development, justified by telling the Los Angeles Times, "Going to the other side of the street can be a barrier." Some might get a laugh from that statement, but it must bear some truth since Starbucks has become not only the most popular coffee chain in the world but the third largest chain period after McDonald's and Subway, according to Yahoo News, which reports that Starbucks had 34,317 global locations at the outset of 2022.

Given the runaway success that Starbucks has experienced, you'd have to assume the brand has done just about everything right from day one. Sure, you might recall the holiday cup debacle of 2015 — which has now entered the realm of memes, per the Washington Post – but, by and large, Starbucks products have been a venti-sized success. However, there is one particularly notable exception: Starbucks Mazagran.

Mazagran was a rare Starbucks failure

For the uninitiated, Mazagran is an iced beverage that marries espresso and lemon juice, named for a small town in Algeria. Starbucks reveals that, in 1994, it debuted a line of bottled Mazagran. It was made with coffee extract and the whole thing was carbonated, creating a rather polarizing product. The company itself acknowledges that "not many bought it more than once," and the endeavor was quickly dismissed as a failure. However, while Mazagran may not have been the success Starbucks was hoping for, it set them up for one of their most popular and profitable products: the bottled Frappuccino.

Starbucks explains that, after the Mazagran experiment was put to a stop, they found a new application for the coffee extract used in it, this time as the basis of the beloved Frappuccino. Furthermore, when Starbucks rolled out the Mazagran, it struck up a deal with PepsiCo to distribute the bottled drinks. This became the North American Coffee Partnership, currently responsible for the distribution of Starbucks' bottled Frappuccino, Doubleshot, Tripleshot, and Nitro Cold Brew beverages, per Business Wire. Thanks to teaming up with PepsiCo, Starbucks is now the market leader in ready-to-drink coffee. Apparently, some clouds have a billion-dollar lining.