Starbucks Is Bringing Back The Holiday Cup That Got it in Trouble Last Year

November 4, 2016, 12:33 PM UTC

So it returns.

Starbucks is bringing back its plain red cups for the holiday season starting Nov. 10, the company announced Friday. When the cup debuted last year, some consumers accused Starbucks of waging war on Christianity after Starbucks removed images of snowflakes, trees, and ornaments that covered the cups in years prior.

When it first came out, Starbucks (SBUX) said the cup mimicked a blank canvas that “welcomes all stories.” But when this year’s plain cup debuts, customers may tamp down their anger when they realize the deal they’re getting. For anyone who buys a holiday beverage from Nov. 10-14, between the hours of 2-5 p.m., Starbucks will offer a free holiday drink of equal or lesser value.

Eligible Holiday beverages include: Chestnut Praline Latte, Peppermint Mocha and Skinny Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Brulée Latte, Gingerbread Latte, Eggnog Latte, Teavana Joy Brewed Tea, and Spiced Sweet Cream Nariño 70 Cold Brew.


But even if Starbucks avoids the outrage surrounding its plain red cups this year, the company has already gotten its seemingly obligatory annual controversy out of the way. Its limited-time only green “unity” cup was criticized for waging war on Christianity and for “political brainwashing” after it appeared Nov. 1.

That cup, a depiction of more than a hundred people drawn in a continuous stroke, was mean to be a “symbol of unity as a reminder of our shared values, and the need to be good to each other” during a “divisive time in our country.”

Notably, Starbucks’ plain red holiday cups differ from an image posted by a Reddit user a week ago. That cup featured a red background with foliage and birds.

On Thursday, Starbucks gave investors something to be happy about: Revenue jumped and earnings hit a new record for the final quarter of its fiscal year, as the company hiked its dividend and issued a bright outlook for 2017.

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