Starbucks’ beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) officially returned to stores on August 28th. The flavor Pumpkin Spice has truly exploded within the past decade, and one of its founders Peter Dukes provides the scoop on Business Insider’s new podcast, Household Name.
Peter Dukes helped invent the Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2003, and had no expectation of its success. Starbucks was looking for a seasonal beverage that could fit the fall menus, so the team came up with pumpkin-pie inspired coffee. Focus groups were struck by the concoction, and once Starbucks began testing it in stores, it was clear they had a hit.
According to Dukes, coming to terms with the PSL’s success was a process. When his daughters’ friends say to him, ‘Oh you worked on the PSL,” Dukes response today is “Yeah it was a fun experience, I worked with a great team on it and you know, you never know when you take risks, you never know what’s going to happen with it.”
Today, Pumpkin Spice is a predominant symbol in mainstream basic culture. The flavor extends beyond a cup of coffee, as brands across the board want to capitalize on it.
Just how far the spice will go you ask? Think Pumpkin Spice protein powder, Pumpkin Spice Kale Chips, even Pumpkin Spice Dog Treats.
The PSL even has its own twitter personality @TheRealPSL.
When it comes down to it, the Pumpkin Spice Latte is just a beverage. What makes this case so interesting is that its evolved into something so much more. It is a marker for fall and an emblem of “basicness.” It is a movement.
Thanks to Peter and his risk-taking, fall would look a lot different for PSL lovers nationwide.