Starbucks will eventually sell alcohol in about 1,000 stores. And so it begins.

Here’s the corporate version:

“Anything that you see happening here is driven by the question: what is the customer looking for?” Starbucks spokesperson Alisha Damodaran told Quartz.“When we think about new product offerings in the stores, we always think about what makes customers come through our doors.”

Here’s the actual version: the 2013 holidays saw Starbucks foot traffic down about 1/2 and the company brass concerned about the expansion of shopping to online. If more people are shopping online, they don’t need to pop into a Starbucks for a refresher while in the mall or out doing errands. Amazon, thus (also in Seattle!), may kill Starbucks eventually. The good news for Starbucks is that it does sell about 46 more things per hour than it did five years ago, and adding the alcohol component (currently in 26 stores, about to expand to 40, and eventually going to reach 1,000) will allow people to partake in the venue from 7am until 10pm, semi-consistently throughout. Like Larry Page said at TED 30, “businesses fail because they miss the future.” Starbucks may be having a harder go of it of late, but they’re not missing the future on this one. (Being in bed with Oprah now probably can’t hurt either.)

Ted Bauer