Kenny G: You Can Thank Me for the Frappuccino

Saxophonist says he encouraged Starbucks CEO to add the frozen drink
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2015 6:31 AM CST
Kenny G: You Can Thank Me for the Frappuccino
In this May 14, 2010, file photo, Kenny G performs during a media event announcing his concert, in Taipei, Taiwan.   (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying, File)

There's another reason for you to love Kenny G. Not only does he provide the world with smooth saxophone jazz, he also helped provide the world with the Starbucks Frappuccino, at least according to the musician himself. He was an early Starbucks investor, he explained this week in an interview with Bloomberg, and he noticed that "Starbucks didn’t have anything but coffee" while another coffee chain, Coffee Bean, "had something called 'blended' that was a sweet drink, and people were lined up around the block. I would always call [Starbucks CEO] Howard [Schultz] and say, 'Howard, there’s this thing that they do there that's like a milkshake or whatever.' ... So I'd like to think that I was partially responsible" for the drink. And, of course, now, the Frappuccino is his favorite Starbucks beverage, he says.

And, though Eater cites Wikipedia in pointing out that Starbucks may actually have bought the rights to the Frappuccino when the chain bought another chain, the Coffee Connection, in 1994, a Starbucks rep tells ABC News, "Kenny has been a dear friend of Starbucks since the beginning of the company and we are very appreciative of everyone, including Kenny, who've been a part of the success of Frappuccino." (The rep also says two Starbucks partners began working on what would be the Frappuccino in 1993; it launched nationally two years later.) As for how he became a Starbucks investor, Kenny said his uncle—possibly Schultz's first investor, per Kenny—suggested he invest and also try to sell his CDs there. And in 1994, one of his albums became the first CD Starbucks ever sold. "That was the experiment, to see if they could sell music at the counter, and it worked really well." (Here's what a Starbucks does to the neighborhood.)

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