It's happened. The summer (if you can call it that) is over, and once again we're being told tales of Indian Summers, last minute heatwaves etc. These (mostly) empty promises have become annual markers of the start of Autumn - however there is one more prolific marker, that we can thank our friends across the pond for - the Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Starbucks have once again become a sign of seasonal changes with this drink - known as PSL to those who are its most devout advocates. Like the Christmas Red Cups, people around the world (and seemingly all over the internet) wait for the coffee chain to release its autumnal special - to the point where memes are being created to mark this momentous occasion (the internet is the breeding place for sensations it would seem). Whilst the most of these images are, let's say, less than complimentary, the drink lives on - and the sensation just keeps growing.
I don't even know what a pumpkin spice is, to be completely honest. But what I do know is that it has taken the world beyond coffee by storm also, albeit mostly amongst our American friends. Pumpkin Spice soaps and cosmetics have been launched, including a line of makeup (absolutely bonkers) - but it's working! In the 11 years from its launch in 2003, Starbucks sold 200 million of their signature autumn drink*, and have left their competitors in their wake. Yes, the Starbucks cup has been a status icon for busy city workers and teenagers wielding frappuccinos for years, yet is the company's ability to expand its nature as an icon into seasonal status items that is incredible.
Costa, Nero and Pret all have their own seasonal drinks, but none of them have become synonymous with their brand. Nero and Costa have launched their own festive cups, yet have they become intrinsically linked to the start of Christmas? Unfortunately for them, no. The Red Cups have become so important to the festive season, that there were angry protesters at its relaunch (you can read about that here...it's odd to say the least). I mean, there's even a countdown to their launch - divided by country!
So here's to the start of Autumn, a heavily Pumpkin Spiced season, which seems to act as the holding season before the launch of the Red Cups and commercial Christmas!