We’re tracking the release date for the Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2015. The Starbucks drink that has come to signal fall for millions of Americans is typically released the first week in September however the past few years it has been available early. The official release is September 8, 2015 and we’re still waiting for any news about a game to get early access. NBC News said the early access will be September 4th in select cities.
No announcement about the unofficial game yet! We were sure that we would get a tweet today but the one we got wasn’t the start to a game. It seems likely at this point that Starbucks is using the extra week before Labor Day to push the end of summer seasonal Frappuccinos that it announced on August 27th. We will have more information for you tomorrow!
August 30, 2015 Update
It’s the last weekend before Labor Day and we’re expecting an announcement either today or tomorrow about the game that will unlock a PSL on September 4, 2015. We expect that the game will start tomorrow regardless of when the announcement is made as the unlock code is traditionally revealed over several days.
August 26, 2015 Update
The Starbucks newsroom has announced that September 8th will be the official return of fall’s official drink. It also says that “Just as in year’s past, PSL’s biggest fans may have an opportunity to taste the beverage before it’s officially available, and are encouraged to following the official Twitter, Tumblr and new this year, Instagram accounts for ‘TheRealPSL’ for the latest.” That sounds like confirmation there will be game to permit access a week early again this year.
The Twitter account has been updated with a video of a PSL in a bubble bath next to candles that says it is hard work being on vacation 9 months a year.
August 21, 2015 Update
Major media outlets have announced that select cities will have early access to the Pumpkin Spice Latte on September 4, 2015 and it will become generally available on September 8, 2015. I haven’t seen any indication online of what cities are participating in the early release. And there is no mention of a game in order to gain access to the drink. The news broke last night by NBC. We had been predicting that early access to this fall favorite would start September 1st or 2nd.
Starbucks has announced today that it is changing the recipe on its beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte. It is going to start using real pumpkin and stop using caramel coloring. The twitter account for the PSL says this decision was made in between a yoga retreat and a vision quest (I assume the spirit animal search from the prior tweet?). Note: the sand castle tweet is no longer pinned but the post on the Starbucks blog says “enjoy the rest of summer” so it seems unlikely we are getting an announcement concerning any early release this week.
August 16, 2015 Update
The most recent post for the Real PSL on Twitter was on August 10th. It is searching for its spirit animal and is looking for the animal form of a pumpkin. The pinned tweet is still a sandcastle. There’s been no mention of anything pumpkin-like on the Starbucks Facebook page. They are still promoting summer drinks on their banner photo.
Labor Day is on September 7th this year, so we expect the full release date for the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte will be Tuesday, September 8, 2015. We’ve been doing some additional analysis. If they follow last year’s timeframe, they will be offering drinks “early” on Tuesday, September 1, 2015. That puts us about 10 days away from our expected press release announcement date of Wednesday, August 26, 2015. Last year the twitter game was announced on August 20th but Labor Day was a week earlier.
In 2011, when Labor Day was similarly late (September 5th), Starbucks stuck to this pattern and allowed Chicago to get the drink a week early – on Tuesday August 30th. Given the popularity of the drink and the lateness of Labor Day, we don’t think that the Seattle coffee shop is going to restrict early access to its drink to one metropolitan region – that would stir up a real storm elsewhere in the country!
August 8, 2015 Update
We’ve seen no word yet. With Labor Day 2015 less than a month away, we expect to see Starbucks start to leak hints about a possible early release within the next two to three weeks. If there is a game this year, we expect it will start around August 20th as it has the past few years. And we’ll post here as soon as we see anything so that you don’t miss out on a day of your coffee fix.
In the past, the official opening day for the drink has been the Tuesday immediately following Labor Day. However, the precedent for the past few years has been to allow people to buy the drink starting the week before as long as they have the secret password obtained online by solving a challenge.
In 2014, Starbucks opened a twitter account for the real Pumpkin Spice Latte. It gained tens of thousands of followers. For those that completed the #spotthespice challenge, they were given access to the drink on Tuesday, August 26th. They tweeted one clue a day and the Tumblr game board kept track of the hints.
In 2013, Starbucks celebrated the 10th anniversary of the PSL with a code that allowed anyone that told a barista the special code, PSL10, access to the drink early.
In 2011, Starbucks offered the city that earned the most points playing games on their Facebook page with the opportunity to grab the drink a whole week early. Chicago residents earned more than 10 million points to beat out Seattle in a close competition that earned them the right to drink the most popular pumpkin coffee drink before the rest of America.
Early Consumption Tip
If you want to be the first to taste the sweet and spicy espresso and steamed milk latte with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, whipped cream and pumpkin spice topping, the you had better call around. We’ve occasionally found that the local coffee shops here in Philly don’t always get their deliveries by the early release date.
We’ll see you in Starbucks soon!