Who doesn’t love an adorable little collectible  Starbucks Bearista Bear?  I recently fell in love with the Via Bearista Bear, produced by Starbucks for Japan, and it inspired me to create a blog post.  I wanted to provide some background information on the little bears, and realized that I knew very little.  A quick Google search produced well-known blogger John Moore’s website, Brand Autopsy. John Moore, a marketing expert, spent many years working for Starbucks at the corporate headquarters in marketing, and thus is known to often write about Starbucks.

According to Mr. Moore’s website, the Bearista Bears were first introduced into the stores in 1997, when Starbucks saw sales of tumblers, mugs, and other coffee-related items slipping.  The idea apparently came from a marketing executive who previously had worked for Disney.  For eleven years, Starbucks sold Bearista Bears, until 2008, when Howard Schultz returned as CEO.  At that time, he deemed them too far removed from the coffee heritage of Starbucks, and gave Bearista Bears the ax.

There is still a frequent cry from customers that they want their lovable collectible Bearista Bears to return to the stores.  With the lovable plush Bearista Bears gone missing from the stores, customers on MyStarbucksIdea.com created threads like this one here:

Bring back the ‘real’ bearista bears

In 2009, Starbucks sold a little tiny bear, far less plush than the previous incarnations of the Bearista Bears.  The scrawny, under-sized 2009 bear was dubbed the “recession bear”.  I wish I had bought one to show off here! If anyone has an image they can share with me, I’d be most appreciative.

The Bearista Bear featured in the main photo, sitting atop the La Marzocco espresso machine, lives permanently at 1912 Pike Place.  He was a gift to the store from the famous customer Noboru Sakamoto.

What are your thoughts on the Bearista Bears? Should they come back to the stores or should Starbucks simply avoid selling plush toys at a coffeehouse?


Thank you to a reader for helping me out with a picture of the 2009 Starbucks “recession bear”: