We recently learned about Kenny G’s contributions to Chinese culture and his obsessive stock trading, but did you know he also invented the Frappuccino? OK, invent is too strong a word here, but in a new interview with Bloomberg, the world’s #1 smooth jazz musician says he was a catalyst for the eventual creation of Starbucks’ frozen blended beverage. Apparently G was an early investor in Starbucks after his uncle introduced him to founder Howard Schulz, and at one point down the road he was involved in reshaping the company’s menu. Here’s how the man himself explained it:
At the beginning, Starbucks didn’t have anything but coffee. And there was another company, Coffee Bean, that had something called “blended” that was a sweet drink, and people were lined up around the block. And I would always call Howard and say, “Howard, there’s this thing that they do there that’s like a milkshake or whatever.” And so I think that part of the reason that they did Frappuccino was people like me giving them that kind of feedback. So I’d like to think that I was partially responsible for that.
He’s a renaissance man, that Kenny G! And a self-described “sweet guy.” Watch the interview here; the Frappuccino stuff starts around 6:45.
UPDATE: Starbucks has released a statement to People confirming that Kenny G did in fact help them create the frappuccino.
“Kenny is a dear friend of Starbucks and an early investor in the company. He did provide feedback on the creation of Frappuccino. That’s true… We are very appreciative of everyone, including Kenny, who’ve been a part of the success of Frappuccino.”