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Make way for the mojito, the newest addition to the Madison-based Plain Spoke Cocktail Co.’s collection of canned drinks, which drops just in time for National Rum Day, Aug. 16.
The cocktail (10% alcohol by volume) hit stores in Madison, Milwaukee and the Twin Cities last week, and an official launch party took place Aug. 14 at The East Side Club to welcome Plain Spoke's first rum beverage to its lineup. It joins the company’s Moscow Mule and Bourbon Smash varieties.
Plain Spoke’s take on the classic summer drink stands tall (despite its diminutive size) amongst a bevy of canned cocktails that have hit the market recently. While White Claws and other hard seltzers seem to be dominating the canned beverage scene this summer, Plain Spoke Owner Tom Dufek isn’t worried about the hard seltzer boom affecting his business.
"I think it’s helped. I think people are now more used to drinking things out of cans that aren’t beer," Dufek says. “And I think White Claw isn’t really a competitor, since it’s such a different product.”
The 200-milliliter, 5-inch cans pack the refreshing sweetness of a hand-muddled mojito, and offer quippy commentary on the back (“It’s all here. You’ll have to supply your own salsa band, however.”)
Plain Spoke makes its cocktails with authentic ingredients, differentiating them from other canned beverages, Dufek says. The mojito is made with Caribbean rum, limejuice, spearmint and peppermint, rather than any malt-based ingredients. And while slipping a canned mojito into a koozie might not perfectly substitute watching a bartender hand-muddle one, nothing’s stopping you from pouring your Plain Spoke cocktail over ice and adding some fresh mint, too.
Dufek says Plain Spoke intends to branch out with other seasonal releases. There are talks about a spiced punch for the holidays or floral variations of the mule for spring, he says. Aside from seasonal variations, those onboard the canned cocktail train can expect collaborations between Plain Spoke and other beverage businesses soon. “We’ve already talked with breweries, we’ve talked with kombucha companies and we’ve talked with bitters companies,” Dufek says. “We really want to do kind of one-off crazy stuff.”
Dufek also hinted at the possibility of a gin or tequila cocktail in store for Plain Spoke's next addition to the line. With the mule, the smash and now the mojito as staples, Plain Spoke’s primary focus is building brand awareness and educating consumers about its canned cocktails, Dufek mentions. The year-old company has grown rapidly and currently has more than 150 accounts in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
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