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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

Sipscription Revisited

A&W Canada emailed me in late February and invited me to participate in a test of their new coffee Sipscription program: for the month of March, I was able to enjoy unlimited coffee at any A&W Canada location... for free, no strings attached.

"Coffee" and "free" are two of my favourite things, so I happily accepted A&W's invitation.

On April 1st, the day after the test had concluded, A&W sent me a second email asking me to complete a simple survey about their program.

But I felt I owed them more than that, so the following is my review of A&W's Sipscription program from my perspective as a coffee-lover, a consumer, and a marketer... and what I believe needs to happen in order for a national launch of this program to be a success.

As a coffee-lover...

I'm a coffee-snob, the result of having worked at Starbucks for four years earlier in my career. So I didn't have high hopes that my local A&W, located inside my local Petro-Canada gas station, would be able to deliver a particularly good cup of coffee.

I'm happy to report I was wrong: the coffee is actually quite flavourful. I don't have any inside information about the actual coffee served, but here's what I know:

  • From the logo on A&W's paper cups, it's a coffee produced by Van Houtte. They've been around for over 100 years, and produce some quality mass-market coffees.

  • From the A&W website, I know I was served an "Organic Fairtrade coffee with a sweet warming flavour and complex aromas of caramel, chocolate and red fruit."

  • From my taste buds, I'd describe the coffee as a darker, full-bodied roast with very little acidity. I didn't notice the chocolate or fruit mentioned in the description, but there was a slight sweetness to the aftertaste of the coffee I quite enjoyed.

All of the coffees I consumed during the month were enjoyed "black". That's how I usually drink my brewed coffee, but in hindsight, I should have tried at least one of them with milk and sugar for the purposes of this review, since that's how most people will likely drink it.

Still, speaking to the coffee itself, it's definitely something I wouldn't hesitate to buy the next time I was out