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McMerlot: Fast food chains add wine to menu

Fast food restaurants are adding wine to their menus in a bid to boost sales.

Burgerville, a 39-unit chain in the United States’ Pacific Northest, recently put wine and beer on the drinks list at one of its restaurants in Vancouver, Washington, a municipality close to  Portland, Oregon.

‘We wanted to create a different kind of dining experience’, said Jeff Harvey, president of the chain.

‘The guests have been surprised but very pleased with the idea’.

Burgerville plans to expand its wine offering to other locations across the country, while Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill has added beer and Margaritas to its drinks list.

‘If you’re trying to trade upon your image as a premium fast food restaurant, wine really fits with that image’, says David Henkes of Chicago-based market research firm Technomic.

Starbucks announced plans in July to change the name of one of its Seattle stores – to 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea – and begin serving wine and beer.

This is not the first time wine and fast food have been combined.

Taylor’s Automatic Refresher, a three-location chain in Northern California, is a pioneer in the so-called ‘burgers and Burgundy’ movement.

Founded by winemaker Joel Gott, the restaurant has been serving half bottles of Napa greats such as Shafer Vineyards with your onion rings for a decade.

Drinking wine out of a plastic cup was immortalized in the 2004 hit movie Sideways, when protagonist Miles cracks open his cherished 1961 Cheval Blanc in a fast food joint (pictured).

Written by Lucy Shaw

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